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Over 400 People Sickened in Major Outbreak Connected to Nationwide Retailers and Restaurant

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Only a week ago, 395 people were ill from eating at McDonald’s. On Friday, the CDC said that 436 people have been diagnosed with a laboratory-confirmed intestinal illness linked to salads sold at McDonald’s, reported The Miami Herald. That number doesn’t even include the people who are ill but haven’t had the cause diagnosed by a doctor.

The outbreak began in May. Since then, the FDA has reported that at least 20 people have had to be hospitalized.

The parasite people are contracting is cyclospora. It causes intestinal illness in people who consumed contaminated food or water. Symptoms can begin a week or more after consuming the parasite.

Symptoms include diarrhea and frequent, sometimes explosive bowel movements, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those who are infected might also experience loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps or pain, nausea, gas and fatigue. Vomiting, headache, fever, body aches and flu-like symptoms can also occur.

The illness can last a few days to a few months. Oatients might feel better after the initial illness but then get worse again. Cyclosporiasis can be treated with antibiotics. Some people will be infected by the parasite but have no symptoms at all.

Illnesses have been reported in 15 states: Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The FDA said a Fresh Express salad mix of romaine lettuce and carrots distributed to McDonald’s tested positive for the presence of Cyclospora. It was past it’s July 19 expiration date.

“Epidemiologic evidence indicates that salads purchased from McDonald’s restaurants are one likely source of these infections. The investigation is ongoing, and FDA is working to determine the sources of the ingredients that were in common to the salads served at McDonald’s,” the CDC said in an outbreak update posted on its website Thursday.

The company’s salad mix recall was connected with a public health alert issued Monday by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service advising consumers that certain salad and wrap products might be contaminated with cyclospora. The products were sold by grocery stores including Kroger, Trader Joe’s, and Walgreens.

In the health alert, the USDA said they are concerned that people may still have the contaminated food items in their freezer. They are also concerned that some people may still be risk for illness without knowing it. This is because of the incubation period of Cyclospora.

If you are someone you know as bought wraps or salads from these retailers that is best by July 23, please throw it away. If you consumed one of these things, please be aware that you may still become ill.

 

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