The number of people suffering from an outbreak of a gastrointestinal disease called cyclosporiasis, which is associated with McDonald's salads, is now 507, federal health officials said on August 23.
All diseases were confirmed by laboratory tests. Twenty-four of these individuals were hospitalized.
The disease started between May 20 and July 21, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Diseases were reported in 16 states. The states are Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and New York.
The patients in Connecticut, New York, Tennessee and Virginia all bought their salads while they visited Illinois, and the Florida patient was buying the suspect salad while in Kentucky, according to the CDC.
"Epidemiological evidence suggests that salads purchased from McDonald's restaurants are a likely source of these infections." The investigation is underway, and the FDA is working to identify the sources of the ingredients that were common to the salads at McDonald's, "the CDC said.
The Cyclospora parasite causes bowel disease in people who consume contaminated food or water. Symptoms may begin one week or more after the parasite is consumed. They contain diarrhea and frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements, according to the CDC. Those who are infected can also experience loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramping or pain, nausea, gas and fatigue. Vomiting, headache, fever, body aches and flu-like symptoms can also occur.
The disease can take from a few days to a few months, and patients may feel better, but worse again. Patients can be treated with antibiotics.
In July, McDonald's sourced the suspected salad mix from about 3,000 locations and changed suppliers.
Subsequently, the outbreak investigation found the parasite in a sample of Fresh Express salad mix of romaine lettuce and carrots that had been distributed through the restaurant chain.
On July 27, Fresh Express canceled a recall campaign for salad, which was delivered to wholesale and institutional customers.
Written by Debra Goldschmidt for CNN.
The CNN Wire
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