BC is experiencing an outbreak of Cyclospora infection with 6 locally-acquired cases reported since May 1.
Cyclospora cayetanensis is a parasite which causes a prolonged gastrointestinal infection. Symptoms include frequent watery diarrhea, anorexia, abdominal cramps and bloating, nausea and flatulence. Symptoms typically last several weeks to over a month and wax and wane in intensity. People are infected by ingesting contaminated food or water. The infection is not spread from person-to-person. See here for more details on Cyclospora infection: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/cyclospora-infection
Cyclospora is not endemic in Canada. Most people are infected when visiting an endemic country in Latin America or South East Asia in the spring and early summer. When cases occur in Canadians who did not travel, an outbreak investigation is launched. Most outbreaks occur in the spring and early summer and are due to imported produce such as berries or herbs.
Cyclospora infection is diagnosed by a stool ova and parasite (O&P) examination. A special request must be made for Cyclospora diagnosis to ensure the appropriate stain is used by the lab. See here for BC Guideline for Ordering Stool Specimens: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/practitioner-professional-resources/bc-guidelines/infectious-diarrhea
If patients present with Cyclospora-compatible symptoms between now and August, please request a stool O&P and indicate on the lab requisition “Cyclospora diagnosis”. This will help accurately diagnose the infection and assist the outbreak investigation.