McDonald's has stopped selling salads at some 3,000 locations across the country amid a multi-state parasite outbreak that has sickened dozens of customers. There are two reported hospitalizations and no deaths.
Cases of cyclosporiasis, an intestinal illness caused by a single-celled parasite, have surged in recent weeks, and some cases have been linked to McDonald's salads by state departments of public health in IL and Iowa.
At the same time, public health officials in IL and in have reported that a number of cases there have been linked to the salads at McDonald's.
At least 61 people in seven states have become sick from developing cyclospora infections after eating at the fast-food chain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That way, the fast food restaurant can trace those ingredients to their supplier.
McDonald's said it had voluntarily stopped selling salads at 3,000 of its US restaurants, most of which are in the Midwest, until it could switch to another lettuce blend supplier.
Illinois' health department said Thursday that it confirmed about 90 cases of cyclosporiasis since mid-May.
The Food and Drug Administration says cyclosporiasis is associated with symptoms including: "diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements". It is cooperating with state and federal health officials as they investigate.
People can get infected with the cyclosporiasis parasite by eating food or drinking liquids that have been contaminating with the bacteria, the CDC says on its website. The same day, an Iowa health official said the state found "15 Iowans who ate McDonald's salads in late June to early July prior to getting ill".
The parasite is called cyclospora. Other symptoms could include appetite loss, intestinal pain, nausea and fatigue.
In some cases, people may also experience fever and vomiting, it said.