Parasitic Illness Linked to McDonald's Salads Sickens 436 People

At least 436 McDonald's customers have now been sickened by salads infected with the cyclospora parasite

According to new figures released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the cyclospora parasite that has sickened hundreds of McDonald's customers since July, has now infected at least 436 people, 20 of whom have become so sick that they've required hospitalization.

The cyclospora parasite has been linked to McDonald's salads in hundreds of cases across 15 states. Salads from more than 3,000 stores have been pulled from the restaurants since the outbreak began, McDonald's said.

McDonald's supplier, Fresh Express, provided the infected salad and the fast-food chain has since discontinued their relationship with that company.

The FDA says the number of cases linked to the infection has continued to increase since it was first reported in July, with 41 more cases being logged by the agency since its last update on August 2. 

In a statement, Fresh Express said they were investigating the source of the infection, but doesn't yet know where it came from. 

The Fresh Express food safety team, along with our outside food safety experts, are continuing to collaborate with FDA, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state public health agencies in their outbreak investigations.  As of now, there is no clear understanding about the contamination pathway or a definitive source of the Cyclospora outbreaks. 

People infected with the cyclospora parasite can come down with cyclosporiasis. Symptoms include diarrhea and frequent bowel movements, weight loss, stomach cramps, nausea, and fatigue according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture warned on July 30 that the parasite may have also spread to products sold by Trader Joe's, Walgreens, and Kroger. 

Photo: Getty Images

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