McDonald's removing salads from 3,000 stores after illness caused by parasite

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Health officials say McDonald's salads may be the source of a parasitic illness outbreak that has sickened more than 100 people in Iowa and IL.

The Iowa Department of Public Health, in its own release, said it has identified 15 cases linked to the same illness and parasite, The Associated Press reports.

While finding a link to salads sold at McDonald's in about a quarter of the IL cases, the state is also looking into other possible sources for the contamination, Shah added.

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McDonald's has stopped selling salads in around 3,000 outlets after more than 100 people were taken ill with intestinal parasites in IL and Iowa.

The fast food giant is cooperating with investigations, both health departments reported. Del Monte recalled the trays in early June, the FDA says, and the agency says the Del Monte outbreak is not related to the one involving McDonald's.

Symptoms, which occur a week after consuming the parasite by food or water, include diarrhea, frequent and sometimes explosive bowel movements, according to the CDC. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach pain, and fatigue. "We are in the process of removing existing salad blend from identified restaurants and distribution centers - which includes approximately 3,000 of our USA restaurants primarily located in the Midwest", said McDonald's spokeswoman Terri Hickey in a statement.

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In Illinois, public health officials have counted 90 cases of cyclospora since mid-May. He writes that McDonald's has already voluntarily stopped selling salads until it can secure supply of a different lettuce blend, and the company's removing the salad blend from restaurants and distribution centers affected. The illness can last a few days or up to several months. Healthcare providers usually treat cyclosporiasis using antibiotics.

But health officials are still investigating other causes.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is investigating an outbreak of cyclosporiasis, which is an intestinal illness caused by a microscopic parasite.

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