IDPH Investigating Outbreak of Intestinal Illness in Illinois and Iowa Linked to McDonald’s Salads

Cyclosporiasis Cases Reported Across Illinois and Iowa

By: Rosemary Piser

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has confirmed that there have been approximately 90 cases of cyclosporiasis, an intestinal illness caused by the microscopic Cyclospora parasite.  Cases have been reported in counties across Illinois with people becoming ill starting in mid-May.  The initial investigation indicates those with the illness had eaten salads at McDonald’s restaurants prior to becoming ill.  The Iowa Department of Health has noted a similar increase in cases.

IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. said, “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. 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.”

IDPH reports that McDonald’s is fully cooperating with the state health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation.  McDonald’s says it is in the process of removing these salads from its restaurants and distributions centers.  McDonald’s say it is re-supplying restaurants with salads from other suppliers.

It should be noted that 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 at all.  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 infections can be treated with specific antibiotics.  If not treated, the illness may last for a few days to a month or longer.

Previous cyclosporiasis cases have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce including raspberries, basil, snow peas, and lettuce.

Additional information can be found on the CDC website.

Source: www.idph.gov

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