07 Jul 2022

Cyclospora and summer travel

A reminder about the risk and prevention of Cyclospora infection Cyclospora and summer travel

Cyclospora infection is common in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. Infections in United Kingdom (UK) travellers have been associated with summer travel abroad, commonly to South and Central America and South and South-East Asia. In the past, most cases reported in UK travellers were associated with travel to Mexico [1-3].

Infection is commonly acquired from food or water contaminated by human faeces. Foods involved are usually soft fruits such as raspberries or salad products like coriander, basil, and lettuce [1]. Person-to-person transmission does not occur.

Infection may be mild. Symptoms, which typically begin 7 days after ingestion of the Cyclospora parasite, can include:

  • diarrhoea
  • fever
  • fatigue and muscle pain
  • appetite loss
  • weight loss
  • cramping
  • wind/bloating
  • nausea [1]

People living with HIV and individuals who are immunosuppressed may have severe, prolonged symptoms if infected with the Cyclospora parasite [2].

Before travel

Check our Country Information Pages to research general health risks, prevention advice and any vaccine recommendations or malaria advice for your destination. There is no vaccine to prevent Cyclospora infection.

During travel

Cyclospora infections is spread by consuming food or drink contaminated with human faeces containing Cyclospora parasites. You should ensure that you maintain good food and water hygiene at all times when abroad even if you are staying in high-end, all-inclusive resorts.

Choose recently prepared, thoroughly cooked food that is served piping hot.

Avoid fresh uncooked berries/unpeeled fruit and salads that have not been washed in safe water. An infographic with more specific advice is available here.

See our travellers’ diarrhoea factsheet for more information.

After travel

After returning from your trip, if you have any symptoms, such as: diarrhoea, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating or increased wind, seek medical attention. Remember to tell your nurse, doctor, or other healthcare provider about your recent travel destinations.

Advice for health professionals

If a returning traveller presents with gastrointestinal symptoms, consider protozoan parasites, including Cyclospora species, as a diagnosis as well as other more common bacterial or viral causes of gastrointestinal infection. Testing should be arranged through local microbiology laboratories and positive cases reported to your local health protection team.

The recommended treatment for Cyclospora infection is usually co-trimoxazole [1].


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