Investigators continue to try to determine what sickened 286 people who ate salads from McDonald’s restaurants.
The illnesses is cyclosporiasis, an intestinal illness caused by a parasite. It’s spread when food or water is contaminated by feces. The Centers for Disease Control reports that people in ten states have become ill. Eleven people have been hospitalized. There have been no deaths. The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t yet identified which of the ingredients used in the salads is causing this outbreak; multiple components of these salads are under consideration.
All of the illnesses have been linked to with McDonald’s locations in IA, IL, IN, KY, MN, MO, NE, OH, SD, and WI. In mid-July McDonald’s voluntarily stopped selling salads at about 3,000 restaurants in IL, IA, IN, WI, MI, OH, MN, NE, SD, MT, ND, KY, WV, and MO until it’s able to switch to another salad supplier.
More information can be found in this McDonald’s Statement.
The FDA says it has no evidence to suggest that this cluster of illnesses is related to an ongoing Cyclospora outbreak linked to Del Monte vegetable trays.
According to the CDC, most people infected with Cyclospora develop diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements. Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. Vomiting, body aches, headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms may be noted. Some people who are infected with Cyclospora do not have any symptoms. If not treated, the illness may last from a few days to a month or longer. Symptoms may seem to go away and then return one or more times.
The CDC says people with symptoms of cyclosporiasis should contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care. The recommended treatment is a combination of two antibiotics, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, also known as Bactrim, Septra, or Cotrim. Doctors advise people who have diarrhea to rest and drink plenty of fluids.