DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A parasite that health officials are linking to McDonald's salads has now spread to six states, including Iowa.
The parasite is called cyclospora. Since mid-May, it has sickened 15 people in Iowa, 29 in Illinois, and 10 others in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska.
Health departments in those states believe the parasite is connected to the lettuce in McDonald's salads. The fast food chain has stopped selling salads at its 3,000 restaurants.
The cyclospora parasite is an intestinal illness. According to the CDC, symptoms include diarrhea, loss of appetite and bloating.
"This is one where you get sick, maybe feel a little bit better for a while and you think it's gone. But, then it keeps going and it really lasts for weeks to months, if not treated appropriately," Dr. Caitlin Pedati, state epidemiologist, said.
McDonald's says it will resupply its locations with lettuce from another producer. It is cooperating with state and federal health officials as they investigate.