The number of people impacted by a parasite they contracted at McDonald's is mounting, reported ABC.
On July 20, there were 163 reports of illness from eating contaminated salads at McDonald's. Now, a new update from federal health officials reveals that there have 395 laboratory-confirmed illnesses from the outbreak.
The outbreak began in May. Since then, the FDA has reported that at least 16 people have had to be hospitalized.
The parasite people are contracting is cyclospora. It causes intestinal illness in people who consumed contaminated food or water. Symptoms can begin a week or more after consuming the parasite.
Symptoms include diarrhea and frequent, sometimes explosive bowel movements, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those who are infected might also experience loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps or pain, nausea, gas and fatigue. Vomiting, headache, fever, body aches and flu-like symptoms can also occur.
The illness can last a few days to a few months. Oatients might feel better after the initial illness but then get worse again. Cyclosporiasis can be treated with antibiotics.
Illnesses have been reported in 15 states: Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The FDA said a Fresh Express salad mix of romaine lettuce and carrots distributed to McDonald's tested positive for the presence of Cyclospora. It was past it's July 19 expiration date.
"Epidemiologic evidence indicates that salads purchased from McDonald's restaurants are one likely source of these infections. The investigation is ongoing, and FDA is working to determine the sources of the ingredients that were in common to the salads served at McDonald's," the CDC said in an outbreak update posted on its website Thursday.
McDonald's said they have stopped using the distributor. However, they did defend Fresh Express.
The statement said, "Fresh Express follows rigid food safety requirements and preventive controls throughout our supply chain that are carefully designed to mitigate against potential health risks."
The company's salad mix recall was connected with a public health alert issued Monday by the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service advising consumers that certain salad and wrap products might be contaminated with cyclospora. The products were sold by grocery stores including Kroger, Trader Joe's, and Walgreens.
In other news, the FDA has recalled a common heart and blood pressure medication because it causes cancer. This recall only gets more serious as we learn more. Please pray for everyone who has been taking this drug. The recall could impact anyone with heart problems.