Q: Has anybody in this area gotten the intestinal illness linked to eating salads from McDonald's?
A: Yes, though not all cases in Champaign County and other areas have been linked to McDonald's.
As of Wednesday, the state had 502 cases of cyclosporiasis illness dating back to mid-May, including 200 people who became sick after they ate salads from McDonald's in the days beforehand. Another 135 Illinois cases have been linked to a private event held at the Evanston Golf Club.
A provisional count provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health includes 19 cases of the illness in Champaign County since mid-May.
A few of those Champaign County cases have been associated with McDonald's, according to Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Epidemiologist AWAIS VAID.
In this area of Illinois, there have also been three cases in Ford County, five in Piatt County and one in Iroquois County, according to IDPH.
The single-celled parasite (Cyclospora cayetanensis) responsible for making people sick is spread by consuming water or food contaminated by the stool of an infected person.
Sometimes, infected people don't have any symptoms. For others, there's an array of nasty symptoms that typically appear a few days to a week after becoming infected.
The illness is characterized by diarrhea and can sometimes also cause nausea, vomiting, a loss of appetite, weight loss, bloating, increased gas, stomach cramps, fatigue, muscle ache and/or low-grade fever, according to IDPH.
If you think you may have been infected, health experts advise calling your doctor. This type of parasite requires lab testing, and infection is treatable with antibiotics.
There have also been reports of the same illness linked to eating McDonald's salads in other states, including Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
McDonald's announced on July 13 that it had stopped selling salads at affected restaurants until it could switch to another lettuce blend supplier.