What Is Cyclospora cayetanensis?
Cyclospora cayetanensis is a single celled protozoan that causes an infection in the gastro intestinal tract of the human body. When people get infected with this parasite, the condition is called Cyclosporiasis. People who live in tropical or sub-tropical countries are at increased risk of getting this infection because it is more rampant there. People who travel to these countries may carry home the infection thereby spreading it in their home countries.
Cyclosporiasis outbreaks in America have been attributed to eating imported fresh vegetables and fruits like lettuce, raspberries, basil, etc.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cyclospora cayetanensis?
Usually, symptoms begin to appear around one week after the parasite has entered the intestine. Symptoms include:
- Diarrhoea – Frequent passing of watery stools. Sometimes the patient has explosive stools.
- Losing weight.
- Abdominal cramps.
- Muscle aches.
- In some cases, the patient may get a fever.
- Not all people infected with cyclospora cayetanensis show symptoms.
- In some cases, the patient may take a month to recover. There are chances that the infection may recur in previously infected people.
- People who have low immunity may take longer to recover completely from diarrhoea.
What Are The Causes Of Cyclospora cayetanensis?
- Cyclospora infection is acquired by consuming food or water that has been contaminated with infected human faeces.
- When an infected person passes stools containing the parasite, it generally takes several days for the parasite to become infectious. Only after a certain period, the parasite can cause an infection. This means that cyclosporiasis does not spread from person to person by direct contact.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Cyclospora cayetanensis?
- Drink only bottled water while travelling, especially in the regions where cyclospora cayetanensis infection is more rampant.
- Eat steaming hot food.
- Wash fruits and vegetables properly in clean water.
- Wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet.
- Wash hands thoroughly before cooking and eating.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Cyclospora cayetanensis?
Since cyclospora infection is mostly acquired while travelling to developing countries, follow the below guidelines as a preventive measure:
- Avoid fresh ready to eat food.
- Avoid fruits and vegetables that cannot be peeled or cooked.
- If bottled water is not available, boil water before drinking.
- Avoid ice chunks in juices and drinks.
- Use treated water for brushing, making baby formula, washing vegetables and fruits and making ice.
- Avoid drinking water from ponds, wells, and springs.
What Are The Best Foods For Cyclospora cayetanensis?
- Since you lose body fluids and minerals through the frequent passing of stools, replenishing the body is very important. Drink water regularly and take fluids like hot soup.
- Eat small, light meals spaced at short intervals.
- Eat bland food since the infection causes irritation in the intestinal tract.
- Eat food rich in electrolytes, like banana, raisins, dates, avocado, oranges, green leafy vegetables, etc.
- Eat a balanced diet containing vegetables, fruits, carbohydrates, protein and a moderate amount of fats. This will boost immunity and help the body recover from the infection faster.
What Are The Worst Foods For Cyclospora cayetanensis?
- Avoid fried food as the digestive system is already under stress and will not be able to digest this.
- Avoid consuming raw imported fresh food.
- Drink only treated water. If using bottled water, verify that it comes from a reputed company.
What Are The Medicines For Cyclospora cayetanensis?
What Are The Tips To Manage Cyclospora cayetanensis?
Follow food and water safety guidelines while visiting a developing country. Be extra careful about what you eat and drink.