Federal health officials have said an additional 123 people have been sickened by a cyclospora infection in an outbreak that has now affected 286 people nationwide, CNN reports. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 11 of the sick individuals have been hospitalized. The earliest reported illnesses in this outbreak began with symptoms May 20 and the most recently reported cases began June 29.
Damage Caused by Major Outbreak
Officials say illnesses that started after June 14, 2018, might not have been reported yet because of the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. For cyclospora infections, this could take up to six weeks, which is why health officials expect the number of cases to increase. Illnesses have so far been reported in 15 states. The source of the outbreak has yet to be determined.
However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said it is working with McDonald’s to identify common ingredients in the salads identified by those who became sick and to trace back those ingredients through the supply chain. On July 13, McDonald’s said it was removing its lettuce blend from about 3,000 locations in 15 states as a precaution. On July 20, the company said the blend was replaced with lettuce from a different supplier. This outbreak is not related to a different cyclospora outbreak caused by Del Monte Fresh vegetable trays.
Cyclospora is a parasite that causes intestinal illness and is usually transmitted through food and water. Symptoms may begin a week or more after consuming the contaminated food or water. Some of the common symptoms include diarrhea with explosive bowel movements, loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps or pain, nausea, gas and fatigue. Those afflicted may also experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches. The illness could last anywhere from a few days to a few months, and is typically treated with antibiotics.
Have You Been Sickened?
If you have become ill after eating at a restaurant, it is important that you take certain steps to protect your legal rights. First, get prompt medical attention, treatment and care for your illness. Document the number of workdays you missed as a result of your illness. Save the receipt of the meal you had at the restaurant.
If you have any leftover food, isolate it and preserve it so it can be examined at an independent laboratory for the presence of pathogens. Inform your local healthcare agency, which keeps track of these types of illnesses. Contact an experienced food poisoning lawyer who can help you secure compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, pain and suffering and emotional distress.