Cyclospora cases linked to McDonald's salads - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Cyclospora cases linked to McDonald's salads

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – If you've gotten sick recently after eating a salad from McDonald's, you may want to be tested for an intestinal illness.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has received confirmation of approximately 90 cases of cyclosporiasis, caused by the microscopic Cyclospora parasite. And nearly one-fourth of Illinois cases reported eating salads from McDonald's in the days before they became ill. Cases have been reported in counties across Illinois with people becoming ill starting in mid-May. A similar outbreak has also been reported in Iowa.

"Although a link has been made to salads sold in McDonald's restaurants in some Illinois cases, public health officials continue to investigate other sources," said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D.  "If you ate a salad from McDonald's since mid-May and developed diarrhea and fatigue, contact a health care provider about testing and treatment."
The Chicago-based fast food chain is in the process of removing these salads from its restaurants and distributions centers, and released the following statement:

McDonald’s has been in contact with public health authorities from Iowa and Illinois about an increase in Cyclospora infections in those states. Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to voluntarily stop selling salads at impacted restaurants until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier. We are in the process of removing existing salad blend from identified restaurants and distribution centers – which includes approximately 3,000 of our U.S. restaurants primarily located in the Midwest.

McDonald’s is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality control. We are closely monitoring this situation and cooperating with state and federal public health authorities as they further investigate.

People can become infected by consuming food or water contaminated with feces that contains the parasite. Cyclospora is not spread directly from one person to another.
Symptoms usually begin about a week after exposure, although some people who are infected may not have any.  Symptoms may include the following:

  • Frequent bouts of watery diarrhea (the most common symptom)
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Cramping, bloating, and/or increased gas
  • Nausea (vomiting is less common)
  • Fatigue
  • Low-grade fever

Cyclospora infection can be treated with specific antibiotics. If not treated, the illness may last for a few days to a month or longer. 
Click here for more information on cyclospora.

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