Illinois hit hard with 92 sickened by parasite in the supply chain
The number of people impacted by contaminated salads from McDonald’s restaurants has expanded to 163 people in 10 states, according to federal and state health officials investigating the outbreak.
That’s about 100 more cases than reported earlier this week by state and federal officials.
Three cases have led to hospitalization. There have been no deaths.
Public health officials say they continue to work with McDonald’s to identify the common ingredients in the salads that made people sick. They will then trace back those ingredients through the supply chain to identify where the contamination occurred.
Most of the cases are coming from Illinois. As of July 19, Illinois health officials had recorded 243 cases of cyclosporiasis, an intestinal illness caused by a microscopic parasite. Of those cases, 92 people reported eating salads from McDonald's in the days before becoming ill.
“The initial investigation indicates a link to consumption of McDonald's salads produced for McDonald's restaurants,” the agency said this week.
On Friday, McDonald’s released the following updated statement about the expanded outbreak: “The health and safety of our customers and the people who work in McDonald’s restaurants is always our top priority. The additional states identified by the FDA and CDC are among the same states where a week ago we proactively decided to remove our lettuce blend in impacted restaurants and replace it through a different supplier. McDonald’s is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality and we continue to cooperate and support regulatory and public health officials in their investigations.”
Last week, McDonald’s temporarily halted salad sales in roughly 3,000 impacted restaurants in 14 states including Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia and Missouri.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the 163 “laboratory-confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis” came from health agencies in Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Health officials noted that the Florida victim purchased a salad while traveling in Kentucky.
State and federal health officials say any consumer who has symptoms of cyclosporiasis should contact their health care provider to receive care.
Earlier this week, one of the victims, Jennifer Smith of Illinois, filed a lawsuit against the Chicago-based chain. She is seeking damages in excess of $50,000, according to a complaint filed Monday by Smith’s two law firms.