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Cyclospora in European Travellers Returning from Mexico

25 Jul 2017

On 21 July 2017  the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported an increase in cases of travel-ralated cyclosporiasis. Between 1 January and 11 July 2017, 43 cases have been identified in the UK. 11 of these travelled to Mexico, 10 travelled to other overseas destinations and 4 had not been abroad. A similar increase was seen in 2015 and 2016, when most cases were also linked to travel to Mexico.

There have also been 2 cases in France, both of whom had been to Mexico. Belgium has reported four cases of cyclosporiasis in 2017, 3 of whom had travelled to Mexico.

Cyclospora cayetanensis is a protozoan parasite that infects humans and other primates. Infection can cause diarrhoea, abdominal cramping, nausea, flatulence, loss of appetite, fatigue, low-grade fever, and weight loss. HIV positive individuals and those with other immune deficiencies can be at risk of more severe infection.

Advice for Travellers

An advice sheet for travellers can be accessed via the following link:

Infection is transmitted through consumption of contaminated food or water, direct person to person spread does not occur. Foods often implicated in outbreaks include soft fruits like raspberries and salad products such as coriander, basil and lettuce.

Key points:

  • Drinking water must be bottled, boiled, or purified with a special filter designed for drinking water.
    • Iodine and chlorine do not kill Cyclospora.
  • Food should be freshly prepared, thoroughly cooked and eaten hot whenever possible.
    • Uncooked berries, unpeeled fruit and salad leaves are best avoided since these are difficult to clean.
  • Further food and water advice
  • Preventing and treating travellers'diarrhoea

On return from Mexico, if travellers have any symptoms such as those described above they should seek medical attention and inform their GP of their travel history.