Cases of Cyclosporiasis Linked to McDonald's Salads, CDC Says

McDonald’s salads now linked to 163 cases in 10 states

While McDonald's has been unable to pinpoint the direct source of contamination, the chain is now looking for a new lettuce supplier for restaurants located in Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota, Kentucky, Missouri, and West Virginia. While healthy individuals should recover from a cyclospora infection without treatment, patients with weakened immune systems can be at a higher risk, and three people have been reported hospitalized so far.

Earlier this week, federal safety agencies reported that McDonald's customers in IL and Iowa experienced serious illness thanks to a foodborne parasite that contaminated the fast food chain's salads.

More illnesses have been reported across the United States in two separate cyclospora outbreaks, federal health officials said Thursday.

The foodborne illness has been reported in Ohio, Kentucky, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, according to the CDC's case count map, and the majority of the illnesses have been found in Illinois and Iowa. Cyclospora infects the small intestine (bowel) and usually causes watery diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements. Gas, nausea, stomach cramps, and loss of appetite are also associated with cyclosporiasis, and some who are infected experience flu-like symptoms.

If untreated, symptoms can persist for several weeks or a month or more.

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Cyclosporiasis is not likely able to be passed directly from one person to another.

On Friday, McDonald's released the following updated statement about the expanded outbreak: "The health and safety of our customers and the people who work in McDonald's restaurants is always our top priority". As of July 13, roughly one quarter of 90 people sickened since mid-May in IL had reported eating a McDonald's salad in the days before falling ill, and an additional 15 cases were reported in Iowa.

McDonald's said it stopped selling salads at impacted restaurants "until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier". And the fast-food chain is cooperating with investigations being done by the CDC, Food and Drug Administration, and local officials. If you could be affected and notice symptoms, call your health care provider.

Following initial reports of the outbreak, McDonald's said it was voluntarily removing salads from some locations and distribution centers "out of an abundance of caution", with plans to restock restaurants with salads from other suppliers.

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