In a follow-up on the locally-acquired Cyclospora outbreak in British Columbia and Ontario, Canada, The Public Health Agency of Canada reports 37 additional cases of the protozoan parasitic infection in the past two weeks.
A total of 57 cases have been reported in two provinces: British Columbia (5) and Ontario (52). Individuals became sick between May and June of this year. The majority of cases (58%) are male, with an average age of 50 years. The investigation into the source of the outbreak is ongoing. To date, no multi-jurisdictional outbreaks of Cyclospora have been linked to produce grown in Canada.
Cyclospora cayetanensis is a protozoan parasite that is spread by people ingesting something – such as food or water – that was contaminated with feces.
Cyclospora infects the small intestine (bowel) and 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 with Cyclospora do not have any symptoms.
If not treated, the illness may last from a few days to a month or longer. Symptoms may seem to go away and then return one or more times (relapse). It’s common to feel very tired.
Cyclospora can be treated with antibiotics.