More than 90 people in IL have contracted an intestinal parasite that might be related to McDonald's salads, according to public health officials. The announcement comes after public health authorities in IL and Iowa warned that a number of recent cyclospora infections in those states appear to be linked to the salads.
In Illinois, public health officials have counted 90 cases of cyclospora since mid-May.
Both state departments have warned residents to contact their doctors if they recently ate a McDonald's salad and feel any symptoms.
About one quarter of 90 people sickened since mid-May in IL reported eating a McDonald's salad in the days before falling ill, while an additional 15 cases were reported in Iowa.
"Although a link has been made to salads sold in McDonald " s restaurants in some IL cases, public health officials continue to investigate other sources", said IL public health director Nirav Shah.
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The departments said McDonald's was fully cooperating with state health officials, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration.
People can become infected by consuming food or water contaminated with the microscopic parasite. "This summer there have been several clusters of Cyclospora illness associated with various foods that are commercially available", a statement from the Iowa Department of Public Health said.
McDonald's is removing the lettuce blend from identified restaurants and distribution centers.
The parasite Cyclospora is not spread directly between people and can be treated with specific antibiotics. McDonald's say it is re-supplying restaurants with salads from other suppliers. Other symptoms can include vomiting, headache, fever, and body aches. IDPH says untreated cyclosporiasis can last over a month.
"Out of an abundance of caution, we made a decision to voluntarily stop selling salads at impacted restaurants until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier", McDonald's told CNN in an email.