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 Illinois.
The illness, caused by the cyclospora parasite, causes symptoms such as diarrhea and frequent, sometimes explosive bowel movements, as well as loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps or pain, nausea, and fatigue, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other symptoms can include vomiting, headache, fever, and body aches.
Symptoms can begin more than a week after consuming food contaminated with the parasite, and the illness can last a few days up to several months.
Illinois officials said one quarter of patients with the parasitic illness had eaten a McDonald’s salad before their symptoms appeared.
But health officials are still investigating other causes.
“Although a link has been made to salads sold in McDonald’s restaurants in some Illinois cases, public health officials continue to investigate other sources,” said Nirav D. Shah, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “If you ate a salad from McDonald’s since mid-May and developed diarrhea and fatigue, contact a health care provider about testing and treatment.”