The Travel Health and Vaccine Specialists

Health Alert


Sarcocystosis in Malaysia

Updated September 8, 2014

Updated: September 05, 2014

What is the current situation?

CDC has received reports from GeoSentinel1 and other European travel and tropical medicine partners of more than 6 patients with suspected acute muscular sarcocystosis. All of the patients had traveled to Tioman Island in Malaysia in March and April 2014.  Sarcocystis was first reported in travelers to Tioman Island starting in 2011, with subsequent report in 2012 and 2013.

What is sarcocystosis?

Sarcocystosis is a disease caused by a parasite called Sarcocystis. Sarcocystosis occurs in tropical or subtropical countries, including countries in Southeast Asia. This disease is common among wild and domestic animals but can also cause disease in humans. Two forms of the disease can occur: one causes diarrhea and the other causes muscle pain, fevers, and other symptoms. Muscle sarcocystosis is spread through food, water, or soil contaminated with infected animal feces. Many people infected with Sarcocystis may have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.

The travelers described in this notice returned from Malaysia with muscle pain, sometimes severe, and fever and headache. Some complained of joint and neck pain. Most people became ill 1–2 weeks after leaving the island.