The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is investigating an increase in Cyclospora infections that appear to be connected to consumption of McDonald’s salads. The Illinois Department of Public Health has noted a similar increase in cases associated with the product.

“This summer there have been several clusters of Cyclospora illness associated with various foods that are commercially available. This week IDPH has identified 15 Iowans who ate McDonald’s salads in late June to early July prior to getting ill,” said Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. “Anyone who ate these salads since the middle of June and who developed diarrhea, especially watery diarrhea and fatigue, should see their health care provider and get tested for Cyclospora to ensure an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.”

McDonald’s is concerned about this situation and has been fully cooperating with IDPH, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. McDonald’s and involved federal partners continue to investigate to determine what further steps should be taken.

Cyclospora is a parasite commonly found in developing countries, but in the past several years, several outbreaks have occurred in the U.S., especially during the summer months. These outbreaks and illnesses often occur as a result of eating contaminated fresh produce. Symptoms of Cyclospora infection include:

  • Frequent watery diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Cramping, bloating and/or increased gas
  • Nausea (vomiting is less common)
  • Fatigue
  • Low-grade fever

It may take a week or more after consuming contaminated product for symptoms to begin.

If you have any of these symptoms, see your health care provider who can specifically order Cyclospora parasite testing and provide appropriate treatment. IDPH and local health department personnel are continuing to conduct interviews with individuals who test positive for Cyclospora and further cases may be identified.