What is Cyclospora?
Cyclospora is a tiny, single-celled parasite, spread by contaminated food. It can cause diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, nausea, loss of appetite, bloating, gas, fatigue, mild fever, and weight loss.
Why is it in the news?
There’s been an outbreak in travellers to Mexico, with at least 204 reported cases in returning holidaymakers since June. However, it is difficult to detect using standard tests. Because it is uncommon in the UK, most labs don’t look for it and may miss the diagnosis. So the true number is probably much higher.
What’s the most reliable way of detecting it?
The best way is called a rapid PCR test, which detects the parasite’s DNA. The test also looks for DNA and genetic material from 21 other diarrhoea-causing parasites, bacteria and viruses at the same time – so there is a very high probability of finding the right cause. As you’d expect, the test is available at the Fleet Street Clinic. Importantly, we can have a result within an hour or so of receiving a sample.
How can I prevent it?
Outbreaks have been linked to eating fresh uncooked berries/unpeeled fruit and salad items that have not been washed in safe water. Sticking to foods that have been freshly and thoroughly cooked, when you travel, is the safest option.
How is it treated?
Confirmed cases can be treated with an antibiotic called co-trimoxazole. Some of the more commonly-used antibiotics for travellers’ diarrhoea may not be effective.
If you have any concerns about cyclospora and other parasites, our PCR test service can help detect the exact cause of any issue you might have. What this allows is proper diagnosis and treatment. Usually, guess-work on what bug a patient is carrying or general prescriptions to tackle the illness might be given by medical professionals. The PCR test offers accuracy like nothing else.
You can book an appointment online.
There is currently an outbreak of Cyclospora related to travel in Mexico.
A Public Health England Health Protection Report highlights 204 confirmed cases since June 1st, 2016.
The cases are mainly associated with travel to Mexico, specifically the Riviera Maya Coast. The average incubation period is a week and infection is characterised by watery diarrhoea, fatigue, muscle pain, weight loss, nausea and low-grade fever. The foods previously involved in cyclospora outbreaks include soft fruits, such as raspberries, and salad products such as coriander, basil and lettuce. If untreated the illness can last for several weeks.
The Fleet Street Clinic can run a stool sample test that can diagnose Cyclosporiasis among many other causes of diarrhoea in returning travellers, and you will get your reults back in an hour of the test being done. If you are worried about any symptoms you have post travel to Mexico or any other country then call our reception team on 02073535678.
Or you can book an appointment online.