UK health officials are seeing an increase in the parasitic infection, cyclosporiasis, in travelers returning from Mexico, according to Travel Health Pro report.
The cluster has been seen since June and many of the travelers stayed in Riviera Maya, the same place where some 80 travelers contracted Cyclospora last summer.
Cyclospora cayetanensis is a single celled coccidian parasite. Cyclosporiasis occurs in many countries, but it seems to be most common in tropical and subtropical regions.
The parasite causes watery diarrhea, nausea, anorexia, abdominal cramps and weight loss. Fever is a rare symptom.
People get infected with Cyclospora through foodborne or waterborne means. Swimming in contaminated water is also a way someone can get infected.
Cyclospora has been implicated in numerous outbreaks with contaminated fruits and vegetables being the common culprits (raspberries, basil and lettuce all washed with contaminated water), especially those imported from developing nations.
All fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly washed before eating though this does not guarantee safety. Cyclospora is resistant to chlorination.
Treatment is usually successful after a course of the antibiotic Septra. Patients with HIV or otherwise immunocompromised usually require higher dosages for a longer period of time. Untreated infections can last from a few days to over a month.
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