CHICAGO — An outbreak of an intestinal illness that in some cases has been linked to McDonald's salads has sickened 90 people in Illinois, according to officials with the Illinois Department of Public Health on Thursday.
About one-fourth of those who contracted cyclosporiasis reported eating McDonald's salads before getting sick. Cases of the illness were reported in counties all over the state beginning in mid-May.
In its own news release Thursday, the Iowa Department of Public Health said 15 Iowans who ate McDonald's salads in late June to early July became ill.
McDonald's is removing the salads and resupplying restaurants with salads from other sources, according to the news release from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
"Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to voluntarily stop selling salads at impacted restaurants until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier. We are in the process of removing existing salad blend from identified restaurants and distribution centers -- which includes approximately 3,000 of our U.S. restaurants primarily located in the Midwest," said McDonald's spokeswoman Terri Hickey in a statement.
"McDonald's is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality control. We are closely monitoring this situation and cooperating with state and federal public health authorities as they further investigate," Hickey said.
Cyclosporiasis is caused by the microscopic Cyclospora parasite and can cause diarrhea, stomach pain, fatigue and nausea among other symptoms.
"Although a link has been made to salads sold in McDonald's restaurants in some Illinois cases, public health officials continue to investigate other sources," said Illinois public health Director Dr. Nirav D. Shah in the news release. "If you ate a salad from McDonald's since mid-May and developed diarrhea and fatigue, contact a health care provider about testing and treatment."