Champaign-Urbana Public Health District warns of foodborne outbreak

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The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) notified the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD) of a “multi-state outbreak” of an intestinal illness known as cyclosporiasis. According to the press release, it is believed that the outbreak is linked to packaged garden salad, and there are six cases of the illness in Champaign County as of July 1.

“The initial investigation indicates a link to consumption of store brand packaged garden salads from Aldi, Hy-Vee, and Jewel-Osco grocery stores in Illinois,” IDPH wrote in their announcement on June 20. Wal-Mart stores also carry the salads, which are produced by Fresh Express. Symptoms are reported to appear after one week after consumption, and may last for up to a month if left untreated.

The Food and Drug Administration reports that cases are, “potentially linked to salad products that were made by Fresh Express containing iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, and carrots.” Previous cyclosporiasis cases have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce including raspberries, basil, snow peas, and lettuce, according to IDPH.

Fresh Express issued a recall for the products on June 27, 2020. The recalled food products were made in a production facility in Streamwood, Illinois. This factory was also linked to over 500 cases in 2018, and infections were traced to McDonald’s restaurants in several states.

Read the full statement from CUPHD below:

Cyclosporiasis Cases

Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Announces Cyclosporiasis Cases in Champaign County

CHAMPAIGN, IL – The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD) received notification from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) regarding a multi-state outbreak of cyclosporiasis, an intestinal illness caused by the microscopic Cyclospora parasite, which is believed to be linked to packaged garden salad. There are currently six cyclosporiasis cases in Champaign County.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you can identify the recalled products by looking for the Product Code, located in the upper right-hand corner of the front of the package. The recall includes products marked with the letter “Z” at the beginning of the Product Code, followed by the number “178” or lower. A full listing of recalled products is available on the Fresh Express recall page.

Symptoms, according to IDPH, include:

  • Frequent bouts of watery diarrhea (the most common symptom)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Cramping, bloating, and/or increased gas
  • Nausea (vomiting is less common)
  • Fatigue
  • Low-grade fever 

If you think you may be infected with Cyclospora, you should consult your physician. Identification of this parasite in stool requires special kinds of laboratory techniques that are not routinely used. Therefore, your physician should specifically request testing for this parasite. More than one stool sample may need to be checked to find the organism. 

This infection and its symptoms can last for months if untreated. If a person ill from cyclosporiasis is not treated, symptoms can persist for several weeks to a month or more. Some symptoms, such as diarrhea, can return; and some symptoms, such as fatigue, may continue after the gastrointestinal symptoms have gone away. There is treatment, but it is a sulfa-based drug to which some persons are allergic.

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