Symptoms & Treatment
Symptoms of cyclosporiasis begin an average of 7 days (range, 2 days to ≥2 weeks) after ingestion of sporulated oocysts (the infective form of the parasite).
Symptoms of cyclosporiasis may include:
- Watery diarrhea (most common)
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Increased gas
Other symptoms that may occur but are less common include:
- Low-grade fever
If a person ill with cyclosporiasis is not treated, symptoms can persist for several weeks to a month or more. Some symptoms, such as diarrhea, can return (relapse); and some symptoms, such as muscle aches and fatigue, may continue after the gastrointestinal symptoms have gone away. The infection usually is not life threatening. Some infected persons do not have any symptoms, particularly persons from areas where cyclosporiasis is endemic (found).
Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX), sold under the trade names Bactrim*, Septra*, and Cotrim*, is the usual therapy for Cyclospora infection. No highly effective alternative antibiotic regimen has been identified yet for patients who do not respond to the standard treatment or have a sulfa allergy.
Most people who have healthy immune systems will recover without treatment. If not treated, the illness may last for a few days to a month or longer. Symptoms may seem to go away and then return one or more times (relapse). Anti-diarrheal medicine may help reduce diarrhea, but a health care provider should be consulted before such medicine is taken. People who are in poor health or who have weakened immune systems may be at higher risk for severe or prolonged illness.
* Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the Public Health Service or by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.