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McDonald's Pulls Salads From Some Stores After Parasite Outbreak

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - Health officials say McDonald's will remove salads from some of its stores after they were linked to an outbreak of an intestinal illness.

Since mid-May, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has received reports of as many as 90 cases of cyclosporiasis, an intestinal illness caused by the microscopic Cyclospora parasite, according to officials.

An initial investigation found approximately one-fourth of Illinois cases reported eating salads from McDonald's in the days before they became ill, the department said. The Iowa Department of Health says it also has noted a similar increase in cases.

McDonald's is "fully cooperating" with state health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration investigation, IDPH said.

The chain says it's in the process of removing these salads from its restaurants and distribution centers. Officials say McDonald's will re-supply restaurants with salads from other suppliers.

"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 IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. "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."

A display for McDonald's Asian Salad, part a their new "Go Active Happy Meal," is visible next to a McDonald's logo April 25, 2006 in a McDonald's restaurant in Oakbrook, Illinois. Oakbrook, Illinois-based McDonald's today introduced their new fitness DVD's which are available with the "Go Active Happy Meal." (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

People can become infected by consuming food or water contaminated with feces that contains the parasite, officials say. Cyclospora is not spread directly from person to person.

Symptoms usually begin within a week of consuming tainted food and may include frequent bouts of watery diarrhea (the most common symptom), loss of appetite and weight, and cramping, bloating, and/or increased gas.

Earlier this week, another outbreak of cyclosporiasis affected 200 people who became sick after eating Del Monte vegetable trays.

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