Canadian health officials announced the investigation into an outbreak of locally acquired Cyclospora infections in two provinces. According to the investigation to date, a total of 20 cases have been reported in two provinces: British Columbia (5) and Ontario (15). Individuals became sick between May and early June of this year.

Cyclospora oocysts
Oocysts of C. cayetanensis viewed under differential interference contrast (DIC) microscopy.
Image/CDC DPDx

The source of the outbreak has not been identified. The investigation is ongoing.

People infected with Cyclospora can experience a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, while others may experience more severe symptoms. Few people get seriously ill.

Most people develop the following symptoms within one week after being infected with Cyclospora: watery diarrhea, abdominal bloating and gas, fatigue, stomach cramps, loss of appetite, weight loss, mild fever and nausea.

Previous foodborne illness outbreaks of Cyclospora in Canada and US have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce, such as pre-packaged salad mix, basil, cilantro, raspberries, blackberries, mesclun lettuce and snow  and snap peas.

Cyclospora is a microscopic single-celled parasite that is passed in people’s feces. If it comes in contact with food or water, it can infect the people who consume it. This causes an intestinal illness called cyclosporiasis.

Cyclospora is not common on food and is not in drinking water in Canada. The parasite is most common in some tropical and subtropical countries such as Peru, Cuba, India, Nepal, Mexico, Guatemala, Southeast Asia and Dominican Republic. In Canada, non-travel related illnesses due to Cyclospora occur more frequently in the spring and summer months. Illnesses among travellers can happen at any time of year.


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