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Diseases & Topics

Cyclosporiasis

Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by a parasite that is too small to be seen without a microscope. People can get cyclosporiasis by consuming food or water contaminated with the parasite. People traveling to countries where the disease is common may be at increased risk for infection.

The time between becoming infected and becoming sick is usually about one week. The parasite usually causes watery diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements. Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea and fatigue. Vomiting, body aches, headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms may be noted. Some people who are infected do not have any symptoms. The disease is usually treated with certain antibiotics.

Travelers should be aware of cyclosporiasis and how to avoid illness from this and other diarrheal diseases. When traveling, be careful about food and water:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating or preparing food and after you use the bathroom, cough, or sneeze. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • In some countries, you should only drink bottled or boiled water or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks and ice cubes. If this is not possible, learn how to make water safer to drink External link.
  • Depending on where you are traveling, you may need to take extra precautions with the food that you eat. See country-specific tips External link for your destination.

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