An intestinal illness that hit 378 people in 15 states may be linked to bagged salad, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported. Cyclosporiasis, an intestinal illness usually only seen in tropical climates, is caused by the microscopic parasite Cyclospora.
Investigations conducted by state agencies in Iowa and Nebraska have linked the outbreak in those states to lettuce in bagged salad. It’s not yet clear whether the illnesses in the other 13 states was caused by the bagged salad, the CDC said.
Iowa and Nebraska were some of the hardest-hit states, with 143 people sickened in Iowa and another 78 sickened in Nebraska.
“The evidence points to a salad mix containing iceberg and romaine lettuce, as well as carrots and red cabbage as the source of the outbreak reported in Iowa and Nebraska,” said Steven Mandernach, chief of the Food and Consumer Safety Bureau of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. “Iowans should continue eating salads as the implicated prepackaged mix is no longer in the state’s food supply chain.”
Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the findings, and also advised that the product was likely already off the shelves due to the limited shelf life of bagged salad.
Although neither state would name the brand or the specific salad mix, nor whether the lettuce was imported or domestic, Nebraska’s agency did clarify that “locally grown produce is not part of this outbreak.”
Symptoms of cyclospora include diarrhea that can last weeks to months, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, bloating, intestinal gas, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches and low-grade fever.
At least 21 people were hospitalized in three states, said the CDC, with most people becoming ill between mid June and early July.
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