Change Language
  1. Home
  2. Resources
  3. The ABCs of Cyclospora
The ABCs of Cyclospora
July 25th 2022

The ABCs of Cyclospora


By Jeff Lucas and Heather Hart

Cyclospora Contamination and Infection Route

Cyclospora Key Facts

  • Cyclospora cayetanensis is a single-celled protozoan parasite.
  • Cyclosporiasis is the disease caused by Cyclospora cayetanensis. 

—> Infection pathway: fecal to oral via consumption of contaminated fresh produce/water

—> Symptoms: watery diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, cramps, bloating, nausea and tiredness. More severe cases: flu-like symptoms (headache, vomiting, fever)

—> Minimum infective dose, oocyst sporulation rate, and survival under different environmental conditions are unknown

—> Duration: symptoms could last days or months; if untreated, symptoms could relapse

  • Implicated products: basil, raspberries, lettuce, and other fresh produce, particularly if imported from tropical growing regions
  • Agricultural water is believed to play a role in contamination: irrigation, produce processing.
  • It appears to be seasonal, particularly during the rainy season, and is associated especially with tropical growing areas.
  • Testing: 

—> Matrices of interest: agricultural water, fresh produce, fresh berries

—> Main testing steps: oocyst concentration, DNA isolation, PCR detection

Cyclospora Challenges

  • Currently, there are no animal models or in vitro cultivation methods to determine the infectious potential of Cyclospora cayetanensis.
  • It is difficult to isolate and detect due to low levels of contamination in food and water.
  • FDA focus is on prevention:

—> Common chemical treatments used on farms and fresh produce to control bacterial pathogens are not effective against Cyclospora.

—> The current form of control is via worker training on proper hygiene and sanitation.

—> Cyclospora is an emerging food safety concern, and there is a need for research to “fill the knowledge gaps.”

What’s next?

If you are interested in learning more about Cyclospora and Mérieux NutriSciences parasite testing capabilities, contact our Silliker Food Science Center.

Share it with your network
View Locations
Careers at Mérieux NutriSciences Join our dynamic, future-focused team
Work With Us
Mérieux NutriSciences Corporation ©2022