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Over 600 cases in multistate Cyclospora outbreak linked to bagged salad

The intestinal illness outbreak linked to bagged grocery store salads has grown with more than 100 new cases found this month, across 11 states and parts of Canada.

An infectious outbreak of intestinal illness connected to bagged salad mix has grown to more than 600 people in several states, including 16 cases from three new states: Georgia, Pennsylvania and South Dakota, federal health officials say.

Public health and regulatory officials say they're investigating the outbreak of Cyclospora infections linked to bags of salad mixes containing iceberg lettuce, carrots and red cabbage produced by Fresh Express. Since the previous update July 9, over 130 new Cyclospora infections have been confirmed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.

A total of 641 people have been confirmed with infections as of Wednesday. The CDC reported the illnesses started on dates ranging from May 11 to July 5, and that 37 people have been hospitalized. 

The cases spread across 11 states: Illinois (198), Iowa (195), Kansas (5), Minnesota (73), Missouri (57) Nebraska (55), North Dakota (6), Pennsylvania (2), South Dakota (13), Wisconsin (36) and Georgia (1). Officials say the ill person from Georgia bought and ate a bagged salad product while traveling in Missouri.

Canada's Public Health Agency is also investigating an outbreak that's likely from the same salad products in the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

RELATED: More than 500 sick from outbreak linked to bagged grocery store salads

RELATED: Fresh Express issues 'precautionary recall' for salads sold at Giant Eagle, Aldi, Walmart due to Cyclospora risk

Cyclospora is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cyclosporiasis. The sickness can cause severe abdominal pain, nausea and fatigue. The infection is treated with antibiotics, and most people respond quickly.

The CDC has traced the outbreak back to Fresh Express' facility in Streamwood, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The outbreak had more than 500 infections earlier this month.

Credit: FDA
Fresh Express, out of an abundance of caution, has issued a recall of a limited quantity of Marketside Classic Iceberg Salad from select stores as a precautionary measure due to a possible health risk from Cyclospora.

The affected products were sold under either the brand name Fresh Express or the store brand labels ALDI Little Salad Bar, Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco Signature Farms, ShopRite Wholesome Pantry, and Walmart Marketside. The recalled items can be identified by looking for the product code 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 code, followed by the number “178” or lower. The Food and Drug Administration has a full listing of the recalled products.

Officials say don't eat, sell or serve recalled salad products, and to throw them away. People should contact a doctor if experiencing Cyclospora infection symptoms, and also write down what they ate in the two weeks before starting to get sick.

RELATED: US agency vows steps to address COVID-19 inequalities

Credit: Fresh Express