Cyclospora outbreak: FDA seeks possible link to 200 more cases

The illness has been linked to a company that produces bagged salad in Mexico. Photo: CNN

Despite naming a source last week of a salad mix that was tainted with the cyclospora virus, the Food and Drug Administration is busy playing a game of connect the dots to see if other cases of greens may be linked to the outbreak.

The FDA said last Thursday said that the pre-packaged salad that sickened more than 300 people in Iowa and Nebraska came from Taylor Farms in Mexico and was served at both Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants.

That cyclospora outbreak sent 22 people to the hospital with intestinal infections, and now officials want to know if its linked to 200 more cases in 14 other states.

The nasty symptoms of a cyclospora infection include bad diarrhea and flu-like ailments which can last for more than a week.

"This could be one outbreak where the trace back isn't complete yet, or it could be multiple outbreaks," Caroline Smith DeWaal, the director of food safety programs for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said. "The FDA is still tracking down all of the food sources."

Taylor Farms officials say the company is cooperating fully with the FDA, saying that they test all water sources and raw product fields around the clock for bacteria.

Officials say the tainted product, which was shipped in June, is no longer in the supply chain and that the rest of their bagged salads are safe to eat.