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Cyclosporiasis is disease that causes watery diarrhea and stomach pain. People can get sick if they consume food or water contaminated with a parasite called Cyclospora cayetanensis. Cyclosporiasis is rare in Wisconsin and the United States. Most people get sick by travelling to tropical countries where the parasite is commonly found. People who get sick without traveling to tropical countries where the parasite is commonly found most often get sick after eating fresh produce imported from tropical countries. This disease is unlikely to spread from person to person.  

Cyclosporiasis 101

Cyclosporiasis is caused by the Cyclospora parasite. The parasite is found in a sick person’s poop. Someone can become exposed to the parasite if they consume food or water that is contaminated with infected poop. Most people who get sick without traveling to a country where the parasite is commonly found most often get sick if they eat fresh produce contaminated with the parasite. Raspberries, basil, cilantro, snow peas, and romaine lettuce have all been linked to foodborne outbreaks. Most cases occur from May through August in the United States. This disease is unlikely to spread from person to person.

Symptoms usually begin between two to 14 days after being exposed to the parasite. Symptoms include:

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Symptoms can last from a few days to months if left untreated. Symptoms may come in cycles where they seem to go away but come back again later.

Cyclosporiasis can be treated with antibiotics. Getting rest and drinking fluids are especially important if you have diarrhea. A stool sample needs to be submitted to diagnose the disease.

People can protect themselves from getting sick by taking simple prevention steps:

  • Wash any foods with safe water and avoid eating raw produce or undercooked foods when travelling in other countries. Drink only bottled water and avoid ice.
  • At home, always follow safe food handling recommendations:
    • Wash your hands with soap and water before preparing food.
    • Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking.
    • Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with soap and hot water.

Information for providers

Wisconsin case reporting and public health follow-up guidelines:

Case Reporting and Investigation Protocol (EpiNet): P-01883 Cyclosporiasis (PDF)
Cyclosporiasis Case Report Form (PDF)

Questions about Cyclosporiasis? Contact us!
Phone: 608-267-9003 | Fax: 608-261-4976

Wisconsin Local Health DepartmentsRegional officesTribal agencies

Last revised October 11, 2023