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How to avoid Cyclospora on your next Mexico trip

September 19, 2019 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

Any Australians heading to Mexico on holiday have been warned that cases of the intestinal parasite Cyclospora cayatanensis have dramatically increased this summer.Travellers who have recently returned from Mexico are being monitored by Public Health England, after visiting the same Cancun and Riviera Maya region that was subject to a warning by the health agency in 2015. Advice suggests that it’s likely that tainted food delivered to luxury all-inclusive hotels are causing the outbreak.

The experts at have put together everything you need to know about the stomach bug, and what you can do to avoid it on your next trip.

What is Cyclospora? 

Known to infect humans and other primates, the parasite Cyclospora is endemic in tropical areas of the world and the majority of cases reported in Australia are usually linked to travel to these areas.

What are the symptoms of Cyclospora? 

Symptoms of an infection include diarrhoea, weight loss, nausea, abdominal cramping, fatigue, flatulence and a low-grade fever. For those with immune deficiencies, symptoms can be more severe. They can start from between two days and two weeks after you’ve come into contact with the parasite, and can last around a week.

 What causes Cyclospora?

The infection is usually transmitted by eating food or drinking water that’s been contaminated by human faeces containing Cyclospora. Common foods involved with spreading Cyclospora are soft fruits such as strawberries and raspberries, and salad products like lettuce, tomatoes and basil. There’s no evidence that it can be transmitted by animals, and the parasite is not infectious for around 10 days after it’s passed in faeces so it can’t be passed from person to person.

How can Cyclospora be treated?

Although the symptoms of the infection are often unpleasant, Cyclospora doesn’t usually pose a serious risk to health. It can be easily treated with a course of antibiotics called co-trimoxazole, which will help to alleviate the symptoms. If you return from Mexico and you think you have a stomach bug, see your doctor and make sure you mention where you’ve recently been on holiday.

 How can Cyclospora be avoided?

When you visit Mexico, you’ll need to make sure you maintain good food and water hygiene throughout your trip. Even if you’re staying at luxury all-inclusive resorts, you should only eat foods that have been cooked thoroughly and served piping hot. It’s advised that you should avoid ice in your drinks and only drink bottled water. Always wash your hands with soap and water after going to the toilet, and don’t eat any raw fruit and vegetables as they may not have been washed in clean water.

Image by: Mariamichelle


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