Preventing Foodborne Illness: Cyclospora cayetanensis

This photomicrograph of a fresh stool sample, which had been prepared using a 10% formalin solution, and stained with modified acid-fast stain, revealed the presence of four Cyclospora cayetanensis oocysts in the field of view. Cyclospora cayetanensis is a microscopic, spore-forming, intestinal protozoan parasite and a known cause of the gastrointestinal infection cyclosporiasis, often referred to as “traveler’s diarrhea” for its prevalence among visitors to regions where the species is endemic. These organisms have a protective covering that makes them resistant to disinfectants and that gives Cyclospora the ability to survive outside of hosts for extended periods. The incidence of cyclosporiasis has been increasing worldwide, with several documented cases in the United States and Canada. This 4-page fact sheet was written by Keith R. Schneider, Rachael Silverberg, Susie Richardson, and Renée Goodrich Schneider, and published by the UF Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, March 2015. (Photo: CDC/DPDx – Melanie Moser)