Cyclospora diarrheal infection is commonly referred to as traveler’s diarrhea and is caused by the parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis.
- Outline the life cycle of Cyclospora cayetanensis
- The life cycle of Cyclospora begins as the host ingests the oocyst form.
- Cyclospora is transmitted through fecal matter and is commonly found on contaminated fruits and vegetables in countries or areas with a lack of stringent health regulations.
- Cyclospora causes gastroenteritis with symptoms ranging from diarrhea to loss of appetite, weight loss, cramping, nausea and fatigue.
- meronts: After infecting a host cell, a trophozoite increases in size and during this process, the organism is referred to as a meront.
- sporocysts: a cysts that develops from a sporoblasts and results in the production of sporozoites.
Cyclospora diarrheal infection, commonly referred to as travelers diarrhea or cyclosporiasis, is caused by a specific species of Cyclospora. The protozoan that are categorized as cyclospora are defined by the spherical shape of the sporocysts. Specifically, Cyclospora cayetanensis is the species associated with the disease in both humans and primates. Cyclospora can be transmitted by consuming contaminated food or water. In 2012, cyclospora caused about 500 infections in 2012 in the US from a salad mix imported from Mexico and used in restaurants in Texas and Arkansas.
Life Cycle of Cyclospora
The life cycle of Cyclospora begins when the host is exposed and ingests the pathogen either in its oocyst or spore form. The oocyst is comprised of sporocytes which contain sporozoites. Upon release of the sporozoites, the epithelial cells of the intestine are penetrated. Within the intestinal cells, the sporozoites undergo multiple fission and develop into meronts which contain merozoites. The merozoites then undergo division and produce micro- and macro-gametes representing male and female gametes, respectively.
These gametes then reproduce and result in the formation of oocysts. It is the oocysts which pass through the intestinal tract and are released into the feces. The oocysts demonstrate the ability to undergo sporulation in a crop and water host as well beginning with the oocyst stage. It is during the oocyst stage that cyclospora exhibit a high resistance to disinfectants.
Symptoms of Cyclospora
The symptoms associated with this disease are categorized as gastroenteritis based issues. The symptoms range from watery, loose stool, weight loss, cramping, fatigue, vomiting, fever and nausea. The symptoms can be extremely severe if presented in an immunocompromised patient, such as a patient living with AIDS. The transmission of cyclospora to humans most often occurs by ingesting contaminated foods. In regions of the world where there is lack of health regulations, the chances of cyclospora exposure is increased. Often times, the contaminants include fresh fruits and vegetables which have been exposed to contaminated soil. Individuals exposed to these pathogens in these of regions are at high risk for developing cyclosporiasis, hence, the origin of the commonly known name, traveler’s diarrhea.