Illinois, Iowa officials look into rise in parasitic illness

McDonald's salads linked to intestinal illness in two states

McDonald's salads linked to intestinal illness in two states

McDonald's said in a statement that it has voluntarily stopped selling salads at the impacted restaurants.

"We are in the process of removing existing salad blend from identified restaurants and distribution centers-which includes approximately 3,000 of our USA restaurants primarily located in the Midwest", McDonald's wrote.

There are around 100 cases of people becoming sick in Iowa and IL and a handful of cases in surrounding states. People may also experience vomiting, body aches, headache, low-grade fever, and other flu-like symptoms. Patients can be treated with antibiotics.

There is one lab-confirmed case of cyclosporiasis in Cerro Gordo County, according to Cerro Gordo Public Health.

The departments of public health in IL and Iowa both announced Thursday that an investigation into the outbreak is underway.

People can become infected by consuming food or water contaminated with feces that contains the parasite, officials say. Del Monte recalled the trays in early June, the FDA says, and the agency says the Del Monte outbreak is not related to the one involving McDonald's.

Cyclospora is a parasite more commonly found in developing countries. The CDC says most people with healthy immune systems will recover from Cyclospora infection without treatment, though health officials recommend anyone with diarrhea that has lasted more than three days to contact a health care provider.

Since May, hundreds of cases of infection have been reported in the United States.

"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", Illinois Public Health Department Director Nirav D. Shah said in a statement.

"Cyclospora has been a growing risk in imported fresh fruits and vegetables in the US", food safety attorney Bill Marler said in a Friday email to the Miami Herald.

In Iowa, public health authorities reported similar findings.

The parasite is also to blame for an outbreak in Texas, although officials have not yet identified what's making people sick there.

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