Health

Iowa Department of Public Health: 15 Iowans fall ill with Cyclospora parasite after eating McDonald's salads

CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Dhiraj Singh
CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Dhiraj Singh

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is warning fast food consumers to be on their guard as an increase in Cyclospora infections related to McDonald’s salads has appeared in Illinois and Iowa.

“This summer there have been several clusters of Cyclospora illness associated with various foods that are commercially available. This week IDPH has identified 15 Iowans who ate McDonald’s salads in late June to early July prior to getting ill,” said Dr. Patricia Quinlisk in a media release from IDPH. “Anyone who ate these salads since the middle of June and who developed diarrhea, especially watery diarrhea and fatigue, should see their health care provider and get tested for Cyclospora to ensure an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.”

According to the IDPH media release, McDonald’s is concerned about this increase in infections and has been “fully cooperating with IDPH, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.”

According to the release, Cyclospora is a parasite commonly found in developing countries, but there have been several outbreaks in the United States in recent years, especially during the summer months. These outbreaks and illnesses often occur as a result of eating contaminated fresh produce. according to the release.

Symptoms of Cyclospora infection include:

• Frequent watery diarrhea

• Loss of appetite and weight

• Cramping, bloating and/or increased gas

• Nausea (vomiting is less common)

• Fatigue

• Low-grade fever

The IDPH says it could take as much as a week or more after consuming contaminated product for symptoms to begin to manifest.

If you have any of these symptoms, see your health care provider who can specifically order Cyclospora parasite testing and provide appropriate treatment. As the investigation continues, IDPH and local health department personnel are continuing to conduct interviews with individuals who test positive for Cyclospora and further cases may be identified.

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