Posted By: KLKN Newsroom
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska health officials say a prepackaged salad mix is the source of a Cyclospora outbreak that has sickened 78 people in the state since mid-June.
But, they hope that number soon begins to dwindle. State health officials believe all of the affected salads are now off the shelves.
"We don't think there's any reason for consumers to alter their consumption habits, restaurant or food choices," said Nebraska State Epidemiologist, Dr. Thomas Safranek.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services announced its findings on Tuesday.
Outbreaks of the same illness have been reported elsewhere in the U.S., but it's not clear if prepackaged salad mix is also linked to those.
Nationwide, the number of affected people is more than 370 in 15 states, including New York City.
Cyclospora is a rare parasite that causes a lengthy gastrointestinal illness.
"This disease can last up to six weeks, and we've seen cases here that cause 25-pound weight loss," Dr. Stefranek said.
Nebraska officials say the salad mix came through national distribution channels. It included iceberg and romaine lettuce, along with red cabbage and carrots.
Local health departments are working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to identify exactly where the contamination originated in the food production chain and where the product was distributed.