It is believed that a parasite found in the salad of McDonald's salads has caused outbreaks in at least 10 states.
People in at least four other states have become ill spoiled McDonald's salads.
Health officials in Wisconsin, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota all report that they now have cases of people who are infected by the Cyclospora parasite, which they believe has eaten salads at McDonald's. But the numbers are limited so far. Each of the states has two cases, with the exception of Minnesota, which has three.
The new states join Iowa and McDonald's home state of Illinois – the chain is headquartered in Chicago – who reported on Thursday's outbreaks. So far, there are 16 cases in Iowa and 29 in Illinois.
The total amount is 54.
Cyclosporiasis is a non-lethal infection and the most common symptom is watery diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control. On average, people get sick for seven days after eating fecal-contaminated food.
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McDonald's said the company may voluntarily discontinue the sale of salads "out of cautiousness" in distribution centers and an estimated 3,000 restaurants until it can switch to another supplier of salad mixes. They are primarily in the Midwest – the six affected states along with Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, and West Virginia.
"McDonald's is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality control," the company said in a statement. "We are closely monitoring this situation and cooperating in further investigation with state and federal health authorities."
Officials in Indiana, Michigan, Montana and West Virginia said they have not reported any cases of cyclosporiasis associated with the McDonalds salads. Public health officials in the other four states could not be reached immediately for comment.
The Cyclospora parasite is also what has plagued more than 200 Midwesterners who have been eating contaminated Del Monte vegetable trays earlier this month.
Other symptoms of cyclosporiasis include loss of appetite, weight loss, cramps, bloating, gassiness, nausea and fatigue, the CDC said. Less common are vomiting and a slight fever. The disease is treated with antibiotics.
"Some water had to be contaminated and then used to irrigate the plants that turn into lettuce," said Martin Bucknavage, food safety expert at Pennsylvania State University. "These spores get into the water and survive for a long time, it could come from somewhere upstream."
This is not the first time this summer Americans have gotten sick of greens. E. coli-spoiled romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region, Arizona, was diagnosed with 210 people in 36 states, according to the CDC. Ninety-six victims were hospitalized, including 27 who developed kidney failure.
McDonald's shares closed on Friday at $ 158.51, 61 cents, or 0.38%.
The Food and Drug Administration needs an average of 57 days to remove contaminated food from the shelves, according to a report from German doctors. Veu & # 39; s Elizabeth Keatinge (@elizkeatinge) has more.
Follow USA TODAY Reporter Zlati Meyer on Twitter: @ZlatiMeyer
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