Health officials are investigating cyclospora illnesses associated with McDonald's locations in nine states, including Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
McDonald's salads have been linked to 163 "laboratory-confirmed" cases of cyclosporiasis across 10 US states, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Three of the victims have been hospitalized. As of July 13, roughly one quarter of 90 people sickened since mid-May in IL had reported eating a McDonald's salad in the days before falling ill, and an additional 15 cases were reported in Iowa.
The CDC says that Cyclospora cayetanensis "is a parasite composed of one cell, too small to be seen without a microscope" that "causes an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis".
The symptoms, which can begin a week or more after consuming the parasite, include diarrhea and frequent, sometimes explosive bowel movements, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"The additional states identified by the FDA and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) are among the same states where a week ago we proactively chose to remove our lettuce blend in impacted restaurants and replace it through a different supplier", McDonald's said Friday in a statement. A Florida resident also became ill after purchasing a salad while traveling in Kentucky.
The illnesses are a result of a tainted batch of lettuce from a McDonald's supplier in Streamwood, Illinois, according to the company.
McDonald's has stopped selling those salads at some 3,000 restaurants, all located in Midwest states: Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia and Missouri.
"The health and safety of our customers and the people who work in McDonald's restaurants is always our top priority", McDonald's said in a statement. Those infected can experience loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps or pain, nausea, gas and fatigue. "Many restaurants already have a new lettuce blend supply, while we expect all identified restaurants will have new supply in the next few days". Vomiting, body aches, headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms may be noted.