ILLINOIS (WCIA) -- One of America's most popular fast food chains is finding out how hard it is to control bacteria. People eating there are getting sick.
The Department of Public Health is warning people about an intestinal illness being found in McDonald's salads. There have already been 90 cases; 8 in Champaign County.
IDPH says it could have been happening since mid-May. Salad might not be one of the most popular food items, but McDonald's is one of the most popular fast food chains.
"Probably yesterday or the day before."
Now, IDPH is warning people who eat there. They've confirmed 90 cases of cyclosporiasis, an illness caused by a parasite which has been found in its salad.
"It doesn't surprise me because it's easy to have a simple mistake and have an outbreak happen, so you always have to be careful and do the best you can to keep things safe."
They say the chain is fully cooperating, removing salads from restaurants, distribution centers and using other suppliers for produce.
A UI student, studying bacteria in water, was able to provide a little more insight.
"I work with making sure there's no viruses in the water, so if the water is infected with some sort of bacteria or virus and then you use that to wash the food, then it's going to transmit to the food. Some bacteria and viruses can survive for weeks without nutrients or anything, so we just have to be careful."
Although the link has been made to McDonald's public health officials are still investigating other sources. They recommend anyone who ate a salad since mid-May and developed diarrhea or fatigue, contact a healthcare provider.
You can only be infected by consuming food or water with the parasite. It's not spread person-to-person.
Some symptoms include loss of appetite and weight, cramping, nausea or a low-grade fever. It can be treated with antibiotics.
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