Two Midwest states investigating illnesses linked to McDonald's salads

This April 24, 2017, file photo shows the outside of a McDonald's restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Health officials in at least two Midwest states are investigating reports that McDonald's salads are making people sick.

The departments of public health in Illinois and Iowa released statements Thursday connecting an increase in foodborne illnesses with salad from the fast food giant. The intestinal illness cyclosporiasis has been reported by about 90 people in Illinois.

Officials say about a quarter of those who reported illnesses in Illinois said they ate salads from McDonald's in the days before they became ill. The cases began in mid-May.

Officials say the restaurant chain is cooperating with their investigation.

Despite the link to McDonald's, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Nirav D. Shah said health officials are investigating other possible sources of the illness.

"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, Shah said.

The health department says cyclospora is not spread directly between people and that people become infected by consuming food or water that is contaminated with feces containing the parasite.

Symptoms, which usually start about a week after exposure, include:

  • Frequent bouts of watery diarrhea (the most common symptom)
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Cramping, bloating, and/or increased gas
  • Nausea (vomiting is less common)
  • Fatigue
  • Low-grade fever

The infection can be treated with antibiotics, the health department said.

Eyewitness News reached out to the Indiana State Department of Health Thursday evening, who said there were no known cases of illness in Indiana.

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