Hundreds Sick After Eating ... Salad?

Cyclospora outbreak in Iowa and Nebraska traced back to prepackaged salad mix

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 31, 2013 7:38 AM CDT

(Newser) – Hundreds of people in Iowa and Nebraska are suffering from a stomach bug, and health officials think they've found the culprit: lettuce. A prepackaged salad mix has been linked to an outbreak of cyclospora, hitting at least 145 in Iowa and 78 in Nebraska, reports the AP. The salad mix contained iceberg and romaine lettuce, red cabbage, and carrot, and was distributed nationally to grocery stores and restaurants. Some 80% of the cases in Iowa could be traced back to the salad. However, the head of Iowa's food and consumer safety bureau says it's no excuse to stop eating your greens, as the offending product is no longer on shelves, CNN reports. "Iowans should continue eating salads," he says.

Cyclospora has also broken out in 13 of other states—Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Ohio—but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's not clear if the salad mix is linked to those cases. The FDA is investigating what those people ate, but says it's "labor intensive and painstaking work, requiring the collection, review, and analysis of hundreds and at times thousands of invoices and shipping documents."

A photomicrograph of a fresh stool sample reveals the presence of four Cyclospora cayetanensis oocysts.   (AP Photo/Centerd for Disease Control and Prevention)
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