The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating an outbreak of cyclosporiasis, an infection caused by the microscopic cyclospora cayetanensis parasite, that may be linked to McDonald's salads. The company has voluntarily stopped selling salads at "approximately 3,000 of our U.S. restaurants primarily located in the Midwest," the fast food chain said in a statement last week.
According to the FDA, 61 people in seven states have become sick in connection with the outbreak, including Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Additionally, "out of an abundance of caution," McDonald's says it has stopped selling the salads at locations in those states as well as Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Montana, North Dakota, Kentucky, and West Virginia.
The FDA is working with McDonald's to identify which ingredients in their salads may be the culprit. Although there is some overlap in the states affected, the FDA says it doesn't currently have evidence to suggest these cases are associated with the cyclosporiasis outbreak linked to Del Monte vegetable trays reported earlier this month.
As SELF wrote previously, the symptoms of cyclosporiasis usually appear about a week after the parasite is ingested.
The symptoms of cyclosporiasis are similar to other foodborne illnesses and, according to the CDC, may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Watery diarrhea
- Cramping and bloating
- Weight loss
Treatment usually involves home remedies (e.g. staying hydrated) and the use of antibiotics. Without treatment, your symptoms may last from a few days to over a month. Even with treatment, you may experience a relapse, meaning the diarrhea and vomiting may go away only to come back a few more times. And, the CDC says, many people don't get any symptoms at all.
But if you think you may have cyclosporiasis, the FDA says you should contact your doctor for proper diagnosis and care.