At least 400 people were infected by Cyclospora parasites in two separate outbreaks associated with Del Monte vegetable trays and McDonald's salads.
There is no evidence that, according to the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two multi-state outbreaks are interconnected.
The CDC reported this week that 163 people in 10 states have laboratory-assisted infections at the outbreak of McDonald's salads. The agency reported 237 individuals with confirmed infections in four states in the outbreak associated with Del Monte pre-cut vegetable trays.
The number of victims is expected to continue to increase, in part because they may need infected people for two weeks or more to develop symptoms. There is also a delay of up to six weeks in cyclosporiasis cases between the first diagnosis of a person and the reporting of a laboratory confirmed disease to the CDC.
Consequently, persons who have become ill after June 7 can not yet be included in the case number of the federal authority for both cases.
Although there is strong epidemiological evidence that the salads and vegetable trays are the source of Cyclospora, FDA officials this week reported that they have not yet identified any specific ingredient in any of the products that is the source of parasitic contamination.
In recent years there have been a number of outbreaks caused by Cyclospora parasites. Most were attributed to fresh produce that was not cooked before being eaten.
Federal officials said they had not received any reports of confirmed deaths in either case.
At least three people who were ill at the outbreak of McDonald's salads had such severe symptoms that they entered the Hospital had to. The 163 victims have disease onset dates beginning on or after May 1 through July 10.
The infected are between 16 and 87 years old. Two-thirds of them are female, according to the CDC.
State health authorities in 10 states have confirmed people with infections. However, one sick person, reported by Florida officials, ate a McDonalds salad from a Kentucky restaurant.
"Anyone who consumed McDonald's salads in Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin was exposed to the pathogen," the FDA research update said.
"The FDA is working with McDonald's to identify the common ingredients in the salads identified by the patients and to trace those ingredients back through the supply chain."
The multinational restaurant chain pulled "salad blends "from about 3,000 stores in 14 states," says the company's website. Of the 3,000 restaurants, at least one is located in the following states: Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Missouri.
Del Monte vegetable trays
Of the 237 people with laboratory-confirmed infections associated with del-cut vegetable trays, seven of them had such severe symptoms
Onset of the disease from 14 May to 13 June. The patients are 13 to 79 years old. Fifty-three percent of confirmed patients are women.
"Most sufferers reported that they bought packaged Del Monte Fresh Produce vegetable trays with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and midwest dill, and most people reported buying the trays at Kwik Trip Convenience Stores" the CDC.
Del Monte recalled the affected vegetable trays on June 15. The multinational announced that cut, fresh vegetable products had been distributed to Kwik Trip. Kwik Star, Demonds, Sentry, Potash, Meehans, Country Market, FoodMax Supermarket and Peapod
People with confirmed infections live in Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin
Advice for Consumers
Anyone Who Owns a McDonald & # 39; s salad or any items eaten from the recalled Del Monte vegetable trays and has developed symptoms of cyclosporiasis should consult a doctor and tell their doctors about their potential exposure to Cyclospora parasites.
Symptoms usually include diarrhea, frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements. Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramping / pain, flatulence, increased gas, nausea and fatigue. Vomiting, body aches, headaches, fever and other flu-like symptoms can be observed.
Some people who are infected with Cyclospora parasites have no symptoms. If not treated, the disease can last from a few days to a month or more. The symptoms seem to go away and then return one or more times, making diagnosis difficult.
"The Cyclospora parasite takes time – days to weeks – after going into a bowel movement to become contagious to another person," the FDA said. "Therefore, cyclosporiasis is unlikely to be passed on directly from one person to another."
Cyclospora parasites can contaminate food or drinks, but in the United States, they are most often found on fresh produce, according to federal officials  (For a free subscription to the Food Safety News, click here . )
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