The foodborne outbreak linked to McDonald's salads is growing and has now sickened 436 people in 16 states, including CT, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health officials in Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin all report they now have cases of people infected by the Cyclospora parasite that they believe came from having eaten lettuce in salads at McDonald's. People fall ill an average of seven days after eating the food contaminated with fecal matter.
If untreated, symptoms can persist for several weeks or a month or more.
The parasite can cause symptoms that include diarrhea, stomach cramps, bloating, nausea, fatigue and flu-like symptoms. "The investigation is ongoing, and FDA is working to determine the sources of the ingredients that were in common to the salads served at McDonald's", the CDC said in an outbreak update posted on its website Thursday. Cyclosporiasis can be treated with antibiotics.
People who purchased salads while traveling through the Midwest from other states include residents of Tennessee and Virginia as well as the CT resident.
McDonald's voluntarily stopped selling salads in more than 3,000 locations throughout the country on July 13, until it can switch to another lettuce-blend supplier.
"Epidemiologic evidence indicates that salads purchased from McDonald's restaurants are one likely source of these infections".
The outbreak involves Fresh Express items used in the McDonald's salads that were contaminated with the parasite Cyclospora. Fresh Express was not identified as the salad mix supplier until August 1.
The lettuce from McDonald's that tested positive for the cyclospora parasite was in the same lot as the lettuce distributed to Caito Foods, the CDC said Wednesday. And the problem traces back to romaine lettuce and carrots.