Dozens in MN, ND sick with intestinal illness linked to bagged salads

More than 200 people in the Midwest have been infected with Cyclospora

MINNESOTA & NORTH DAKOTA — An outbreak of Cyclospora has hit eight Midwestern states, including both Minnesota and North Dakota.

According to the CDC, 25 Minnesotans and six North Dakotans have been infected.

“Cyclospora is a parasite that causes a diarrheal illness, and it is transmitted by consuming food or water contaminated with feces that contains the parasite,” says Essentia Health Nurse Practitioner Brandi Wallace.

In this case, it’s bagged salad mixes coming from the Illinois-based manufacturer Fresh Express.

ALDI, Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco and now Walmart grocery store brand salads containing iceberg lettuce, red cabbage and carrots have been recalled.

Find the full list of recalled products clicking here.

In a statement, Fresh Express writes, “The Fresh Express recall includes only those salads that are clearly marked with the letter Z at the beginning of the Product Code, which is located in the upper right-hand corner of the front of the package. Products containing the ingredients iceberg lettuce, red cabbage and/or carrots AND displaying the Product Code Z178, or a lower number, are recalled.”

The CDC urges people who’ve already bought these products to throw them out.

If you’ve already eaten any of the salad mixes mentioned, these are the symptoms Wallace says to watch for.

“Watery diarrhea, which can also be explosive and frequent. Stomach cramps, loss of appetite, weight loss, bloating, increased gas, even a low-grade fever,” Wallace said.

She stresses there are steps you can take before eating any fresh produce to minimize the risk of catching an illness.

“Make sure you’re thoroughly washing your fruits and vegetables. Make sure you’re washing your hands before you handle them and after you handle them. Make sure you’re using clean utensils if you’re going from one to another. Making sure your counter tops are cleaned off before and after handling the produce,” Wallace explained.

Wallace adds folks should continue implementing fresh fruits and vegetables into their diets.

“These are important things in our lives. We should still be eating them. Just make sure you’re using the proper precautions before you eat them, so when you’re walking down the aisle in the grocery store and very tempted to eat a raspberry, don’t do it. Make sure you wash those off before you put them in your mouth,” Wallace said.

She says for those with symptoms but are fearful of visiting a hospital or clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual doctor visits are a good option.

Categories: Health, Local News, Minnesota News, North Dakota News