McDonald's has stopped selling its salads in 3,000 fast-food restaurants in 14 states in response to an outbreak that sickened people in Iowa and Illinois.

As a precaution, the fast-food chain pulled its salads from stores in Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, North Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Missouri aside from Iowa and Illinois.

McDonald's has also been working together with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an ongoing investigation aimed at finally pinning down the actual cause of the multistate clyclospora outbreak.

Clyclospora infection, mostly characterized by frequent bouts of watery diarrhea, is spread by people who ingested food and water that were contaminated with feces.

Clyclospora Outbreak In Iowa And Illinois

On July 12, the Illinois Department of Public Health received confirmation of about 90 cases of cyclosporiasis. People had become ill starting in mid-May. One-fourth of these cases reported consuming the McDonald's salad in the days before becoming sick.

Nirav Shah, IDPH director, advised anyone who, after eating a salad from McDonald's, experienced diarrhea and fatigue to contact their nearest doctor for testing and treatment.

Dr. Patricia Quinlisk of the Iowa Department of Public Health issued the same advice to people in her state. She said there are already 15 cases of cyclosporiasis linked to eating the McDonald's salad.

Both departments recognized McDonald's full cooperation regarding the matter.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to voluntarily stop selling salads at impacted restaurants until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier," McDonald's said in a statement. "We are in the process of removing existing lettuce blend from identified restaurants and distribution centers."

Cyclospora Infection

Cyclospora infection can be treated, according to FDA. However, it is unknown exactly how food and water become infected with the parasite. FDA said people should be aware that rinsing or washing food is not likely going to remove it.

The common cases of cyclosporiasis in the United States have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce. The parasite can also infect people more than once.

Cyclospora parasite infects the small intestine, hence, the infection is mostly characterized by watery diarrhea, with frequent and sometimes explosive bowel movements.

People who are also infected with the parasite usually experience loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps, increased in gas, bloating, fatigue, and nausea. In severe cases, they can be vomiting, feeling aches in different parts of the bodies, as well as having headache, fever, and other symptoms similar to having flu. In a few cases, those who are infected with the parasite are asymptomatic or do not show any symptoms but are equally contagious.

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