A cyclospora outbreak, linked to salads at McDonald’s sickened at least 60 people across seven states, said health officials on Friday.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had been working with the fast food giant to identify the ingredients in the salads that are making people fall ill and trace them back through the company’s supply chain.
As a precautionary measure, McDonald’s stopped selling salads at 3,000 of its restaurant in 14 states in attempt to contain this outbreak, said FDA officials.
The states in which the salads were pulled included Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb the FDA commissioner said through a prepared statement that the investigation was in its early stages but steps are being taken now to help make sure consumers know of the potentially contaminated items so they can protect themselves better or be treated, especially if symptoms or signs of cyclospora infection are present.
Earlier in the week, the health department of both Iowa and Illinois said investigations were taking place over outbreaks of a parasite that produces intestinal illness and could be linked to salads at McDonald’s.
Iowa and Illinois have bene amongst those hit the hardest. Illinois reported 90 cases dating back to mid- May while 15 cases have been reported in Iowa since the latter part of June. It is not clear why the numbers are higher than those federal officials provided.
The intestinal illness from cyclospora parasites is due to consuming food or water that is contaminated.
The symptoms, which often start a week or even more after consuming food or water contaminated with the parasite, include frequent and explosive bowel movements and diarrhea.
Those who are infected often experience stomach cramps, gas, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss. Body aches, fever headache, vomiting and symptoms that are flu-like can also take place.
It can take as little as a few days or as many as a few months for the illness to run its course and patients might think they have recovered and then will become ill again. Patients usually are given antibiotics to treat the sickness.