Iowa and Nebraska cyclospora outbreaks linked to prepackaged bagged salad mix

The Iowa and Nebraska Departments of Health came out today with a new revelation concerning the cyclospora outbreak that has sickened 143 people in the Hawkeye State and 78 Nebraskans since mid-June.

Cyclospora Life Cycle Image/CDC

Cyclospora Life Cycle

Steven Mandernach, chief of the Food and Consumer Safety Bureau of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA), said epidemiological data and food history interviews conducted with ill Iowans links a bagged salad mix with the foodborne illness.

“The evidence points to a salad mix containing iceberg and romaine lettuce, as well as carrots and red cabbage as the source of the outbreak reported in Iowa and Nebraska,” Mandernach said, adding: “Iowans should continue eating salads as the implicated prepackaged mix is no longer in the state’s food supply chain.”

Investigators did not; however, name a brand of bagged salad mix or what retail outlets sold the tainted product.

Dr. Joseph Acierno, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for the Nebraska DHHS echoed the findings in Iowa,  “Our investigation implicated prepackaged, prewashed, salad mix as the cause of this outbreak.”

He also says that the bagged salad mix came throught national distribution channels and ruled out locally grown produce.

Iowa’s DIA’s investigation found an exposure to a common prepackaged salad mix from a single source in approximately 80 percent of the cases.

The statewide investigation was conducted jointly by DIA, IDPH, the State Hygienic Laboratory (SHL), local health departments, and officials in Nebraska who were investigating a related outbreak.

Public health officials from both states believe the bulk of the contaminated salad mix already worked its way through the system due to limited shelf life.

According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they have been notified of 372 cases of Cyclospora infection from the following 16 health departments: Iowa, Texas, Nebraska, Florida, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York City, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio.

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- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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