17 Nebraskans affected by diseases related to bagged salads

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services said it is investigating an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness caused by a rare parasite called Cyclospora.

There are currently 17 cases across the state.

Fresh vegetables and fruits are generally associated with Cyclospora sprouts. People get sick when they eat food contaminated with the parasite.

DHHS and local health department officials conducted interviews with Nebraska residents who contracted the disease. According to those interviews, most people reported having bought and eaten prepackaged salads. Other states have received similar reports leading to a joint investigation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and regional state and local partners.

Research points to a multi-state outbreak of Cyclospora infections that appear to be associated with store-brand garden salads containing iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, and carrots purchased from ALDI, Hy-Vee, and Jewel-Osco supermarkets, according to the CDC. On June 20, 2020, Hy-Vee and Jewel-Osco grocery stores recalled their packaged salads from the store brand labeled “Garden Salads” sold in the Midwest states. On June 22, 2020, ALDI recalled the 12-ounce “Little Salad Bar Garden Salad”.

“It is important for consumers to check their homes to see if any of these salads are recalled. Discard the remaining salad, even if part of it has been eaten and no one has gotten sick, “said Dr. Tom Safranek, DHHS State Epidemiologist. Product photos, used by dates and UPC codes are available on the the FDA: https://www.fda.gov/food/outbreaks-foodborne-illness/outbreak-investigation-cyclospora-bagged-salads-june-2020.

Symptoms of cyclospore include diarrhea that can last for weeks or months, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, bloating, intestinal gas, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, and mild fever.

People experiencing symptoms should consult a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

For updated information related to the current outbreak, visit:

CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/cyclosporiasis/outbreaks/2020/

FDA – https://www.fda.gov/food/outbreaks-foodborne-illness/outbreak-investigation-cyclospora-bagged-salads-june-2020

Cyclosporiasis Fact Sheet: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/cyclosporiasis/resources/pdf/cyclosporiasis_general-public_061214.pdf