Sporadic outbreaks of cyclosporiasis, a common cause of protracted diarrhoea in underdeveloped countries, are often undetected and undiagnosed in industrial countries. In May 2001, an outbreak of Cyclospora cayetanensis gastroenteritis was identified in British Columbia, Canada, with 17 reported cases. We conducted a case-control study involving 12 out of the 17 reported and confirmed case patients. Eleven (92%) of the patients had consumed Thai basil, an essential ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine, compared to 3 out of 16 (19%) of the control patients (P=0·003). Trace-back investigations implicated Thai basil imported via the United States as the vehicle for this outbreak. This is the first documented sporadic outbreak of cyclosporiasis linked to Thai basil in Canada, and the first outbreak of cyclosporiasis identified in an ethnic immigrant population. This outbreak provides the opportunity to increase our understanding of this emerging pathogen and improve on our prevention and control for future outbreaks.