The Mystery Stomach Bug Explained – Protect Your Family from Cyclosporiasis

man feeling sick

man feeling sickEarlier this week the CDC reported that at least 275 people in 7 states (Texas, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Georgia, Connecticut, and New Jersey) have become infected with what’s being called a “mystery stomach bug.”

The panic over the sudden outbreak of this food-borne illness has caused some confusion, leading concerned citizens to believe it’s some sort of “super flu.” The flu is caused by a virus; the GI bug in question is actually caused by a parasite called cyclospora, and it’s both preventable and treatable.

Cyclosporiasis – Definition and Transmission

Cyclospora cayetanensis is a single-celled parasitic organism which causes an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis. It is spread through food or water that has been contaminated by the parasite. Unlike the flu virus, cyclospora isn’t passed directly from person to person; it is passed through fecal contamination (fecal-oral route) of fruits, vegetables and water.

Infected humans shed the oocysts in their stool, which means the infection is spreading from either irrigation water contaminated with the parasite or from pickers and packers who do not thoroughly wash their hands before returning to work.

Although it is found in many developing countries, the parasite is endemic in tropical and subtropical regions, from where fruits and vegetables are often imported to the U.S.

This parasite may also be spread through contaminated public swimming pools and hot tubs by infected individuals, as these parasites survive the chlorination process. It is possible to be a carrier (like Typhoid Mary!) and unknowingly spread the infection to others.

digestive_distressSymptoms to Watch Out For

The time between infection and transmission is usually about 1 week. Symptoms of cyclosporiasis include:

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal Cramping
  • Explosive, Watery Diarrhea
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Body Aches
  • Headache
  • Low-Grade Fever
  • Fatigue

These symptoms may last anywhere from a few days to one month or longer. The symptoms may go away for a short time, only to return with a vengeance. Some who are infected with cyclosporiasis are asymptomatic, but are still carriers of the parasite.

Long-Term Complications Associated with Cyclosporiasis

In most cases, cyclosporiasis goes away on its own. However, if the infection persists, it can cause some serious health complications.

These complications include:

Guillain-Barre Syndrome

An autoimmune disease of the nervous system, Guillain-Barre Syndrome is characterized by loss of proper neurological function.

Reactive Arthritis

Reactive arthritis can develop after a prolonged parasitic, viral or bacterial infection. Primarily, the joints, urethra, and eyes are affected.

Biliary Disease

Biliary disease is a rare disease of the bile duct often caused by prolonged parasitic infection. The most common symptom of biliary duct disease is chronic pain in the upper region of the abdomen.

Acalculous Cholecystitis

Acalculous Cholecystitis is an acute inflammation of the bladder without the presence of gallstones. It often occurs suddenly in those who have had no previous symptoms of gallbladder disease.

Detection Equals Protection

Pain in stomach - girl in painWhen you first come down with some sort of “mystery stomach bug,” you don’t know what’s causing it. You may write it off as food poisoning or a simple flu. Unfortunately, this is how more serious health problems sometimes develop. Parasitic infection can last for months, years, even decades, slowly interfering with your digestive, neurological, and immune system function before you ever find out what’s really going on.

I’ve had patients come to me with stacks of medical records from dozens of doctors who still did not have a clue what was causing their health problem, and it turned out to be parasites.

One of the first things I do for any patient struggling with unexplained symptoms is test them immediately for parasitic infection. I use the Doctor’s Data Stool Analysis X3 because it is one of the most comprehensive tests available. It evaluates for parasitic infection, leaky gut syndrome, and candida while measuring dysbiotic (bad) bacteria, digestive enzymes, digestion capability, and even a count of all probiotics (the good guys!).

Cyclosporiasis is Treatable

The good news about this “mystery stomach bug” is that it’s very treatable. If you do contract the infection, your physician will most likely prescribe the sulfa antibiotic sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim (Bactrim, Septra). If this antibiotic is well-tolerated, the infection should clear up fairly quickly.

However, using an antibiotic to treat parasites is often ineffective because many parasites will only go dormant and grow back again when you least expect it. Also, prescription antibiotics may weaken your immune system by also killing off probiotics and can lead to an  overgrowth of candida yeast.

This is why I often recommend trying some of these natural antibiotics to treat the infection before turning to a prescription:

Raw, Organic Garlic

Raw, organic garlic is the most effective, inexpensive natural antibiotic you can use. It contains allicin, an antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic compound that eradicates many infections without the side effects of prescriptions.

The best way to use it is raw and fresh. Buy a few cloves of organic garlic, chop them up, and mix them into some raw honey. Swallow the mixture. Do this 2-3 times per day for one week.

Oregano Oil

Oregano oil has been shown in clinical studies to slow the progression of and ultimately eliminate parasitic infection. It can be taken in essential oil form or in capsules during the duration of your infection.

Olive Leaf Extract

Olive leaf extract is one of the most powerful natural antibiotics you can buy. It is a potent force against bacteria, viruses, and parasitic infection. It can be purchased over-the-counter or online at any health food retailer.

Diamond Nutritional’s Para-Calm

Para-CalmDiamond Nutritional’s Para-Calm can also be used to eradicate parasitic infection with just one supplement. It contains a proprietary blend of ingredients, including the above mentioned OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT to fortify your immune system while gently and effectively cleansing your body of parasites.

Para-Calm’s other ingredients include:

Sweet Wormwood

This fern-like plant, native to Asia, has strong anti-parasitic properties and works well against a wide variety of parasites and protozoa.

Black Walnut Hulls

Black walnut hulls have been used for centuries to treat intestinal parasite infection. It is a powerful antiseptic and germicide that helps treat even the most stubborn of parasitic infections.

Berberine Sulfate Hydrate

Berberine Sulfate Hydrate removes pathogenic organisms including blood flukes and other parasites.


Artemisinin is an active constituent of wormwood and has been used to treat several different varieties of parasites, including the ones that cause malaria.

Protect Yourself and Your Family from Parasitic Outbreak

Travel Safely

Cyclosporiasis and other parasitic-related infections are often picked up in tropical and subtropical regions during travel and then brought home. It is important to avoid travel to any area where parasitic infection is endemic. If business or family obligations leave you no choice but to travel to countries where parasitic infection is prevalent, arm yourself with natural antibiotics and probiotics to help prevent the contraction and spread of infection.

However, I advise against using certain commercial hand sanitizers. Avoid the ones containing a dangerous chemical called Triclosan, which decreases your natural immunity, leaving you more vulnerable to infectious disease. In my opinion, ethanol-based hand sanitizers are a much better choice.

Pick Your Fruit Wisely (And Wash it Anyway)

A colorful display of fresh fruitsOrganic, locally-grown fruits and vegetables are the safest produce you can consume. It is important to know where your produce has been grown in order to avoid parasite contamination. I do advise that all produce be thoroughly washed before consuming, even if it is locally-grown.

The easiest (and least expensive) way to sterilize your vegetables is with white vinegar and water. Mix 3 parts water and 1 part vinegar into a spray bottle and thoroughly spray down the produce. Wipe clean and prepare on a clean cutting board with a clean knife.

Alternatively, you can mix 1/8 to ½ cup of vinegar in a full bowl of water and soak your fruits and vegetables for 20 minutes. Prepare as usual.

It is also very important to wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling food. I recommend a natural soap that doesn’t contain Triclosan.

Take Supplements to Boost Your Immune System

Another good way to protect yourself against cyclosporiasis is to boost your immune system with the right supplements. Many store-bought supplements contain dangerous additives, preservatives, and sweeteners that cause more health problems than they prevent. Also, many of these sub-par vitamins are completely synthetic, meaning your body isn’t able to fully absorb all the nutrients it needs.

For all my patients, I recommend adding supplements with strong, absorbable nutritional content.

These supplements include:

Diamond Nutritional’s Foundation Vitamins

Even if you eat a healthy diet filled with locally-grown produce, you may still have some notable nutrition gaps in your diet. This is why I recommend all of my patients take a high-quality multivitamin like Diamond Nutritional’s Foundation Vitamins.

It contains nutrients such as:Foundation Vitamins (NO iron)

  • Vitamin A – 7,500 IU
  • Vitamin C – 500 mg
  • Vitamin D3 – 500 IU
  • Vitamin E – 100 IU
  • Vitamin K – 50 mcg
  • Thiamine – 25 mg
  • Riboflavin – 25 mg
  • Niacin – 25 mg
  • Vitamin B6 – 38 mg
  • Folic Acid – 400 mcg
  • Vitamin B12 – 500 mcg
  • Biotin – 200 mcg
  • Panthothenic Acid – 150 mg
  • Calcium – 100 mg
  • Iodine – 113 mcg
  • Magnesium – 200 mg
  • Zinc – 10 mg
  • Selenium – 100 mcg
  • Copper – 1 mg
  • Manganese – 2.5 mg
  • Chromium – 200 mcg
  • Molybdenum – 25 mcg
  • Potassium – 50 mg
  • Choline Bitartrate USP – 50 mg
  • Inositol – 50 mg
  • Mixed Tocopherols – 50 mg
  • Lipoic Acid – 25 mg
  • N-Acetyl-Cysteine USP – 25 mg
  • Rutin – 25 mg
  • Lutein – 3 mg
  • Boron – 1.5 mg

    ProBiotic (regular)

  • Lycopene – 1 mg
  • Vanadyl Sulfate Hydrate – 1 mg

Diamond Nutritional’s Probiotic Formula

85% of your immune system is located in your gut. Adding Diamond Nutritional’s Probiotic Formula will give your immune system a boost while improving your overall digestive function. Unlike many store-bought probiotics which may contain as few as 1-3 billion single-strain bacteria, this probiotic formula contains 22 billion live, active colony forming units to repopulate your gut and build a strong defense against intestinal disease.

This complete formula contains lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus paracasei, bifidobacterium lactis, bifidobacterium bifidum, lactobacillus plantarum, lactobacillus rhamnosus, saccharomyces boulardii.

Diamond Nutritional’s Vitamin D3 – 5,000 IUs

Vitamin D3Over 85% of Americans are severely vitamin D3 deficient, leading to an increased susceptibility to a wide variety of disease and conditions. This is why I recommend you add Diamond Nutritional’s Vitamin D3 – 5,000 IUs to boost your immune system and prevent chronic conditions. Though many conventional physicians recommend taking 400 IUs per day, many recent studies have suggested that this amount is not nearly enough for most adults.

With the way many media sources portray the outbreak and spread of illness, it can be tempting to panic and overreact. This “mystery stomach bug” isn’t nearly as terrifying as it has been being made out to be, but it is serious. The good news is, a little bit of awareness and prevention is all you need to avoid the infection and stay well!



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