McDonald’s salads linked to outbreak of parasitic illness in the US

Health officials from Iowa and Illinois are investigating an outbreak of cyclospora cayetanensis infections linked to McDonald’s salads.

McDonald’s announced that it is removing salads at 3,000 locations that may have been affected by the outbreak. The chain also said in a statement that it is “closely monitoring this situation and cooperating with state and federal health authorities as they further investigate.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health identified 90 cases while the Iowa Department of Public Health identified 15 cases.

Around one fourth of the people who were infected in Illinois reported eating McDonald’s salads just days before they started feeling ill.

The initial investigation shows a link between the cases and consumption of McDonald’s salads. However, the Illinois health department is also investigating other possible sources.

Health officials confirmed that the outbreak was caused by the microscopic cyclospora parasite. This parasite is not transmitted directly from one person to another. People can become sick by consuming food or water with feces containing the parasite.

Symptoms begin to appear a few days after ingestion. Symptoms include frequent diarrhea, cramp, bloating, and/or increased gas, nausea, fatigue and low-grade fever.

“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 Nirav D. Shah, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “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.”