Washington - An intestinal illnesses caused by the microscopic cyclospora parasite has made 372 people sick since June in 16 states, US health authorities said on Tuesday.
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said at least 21 people who came down with the cyclospora infection had been hospitalised in three of the 16 states reporting outbreaks.
The cyclospora infections are linked to contaminated packages of salad mix, the CDC said without identifying the food company responsible for the product. It was also not clear whether all the cases were part of the same outbreak.
About two-thirds of the cases have been reported in Iowa and Nebraska.
"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," Iowa food safety official Steven Mandernach said.
A Food and Drug Administration team has begun an investigation to determine the origin of the ingredients in the salad mix.
Cyclospora is an intestinal illnesses transmitted when faeces enter the food or water supply and are consumed. The disease causes diarrhoea and is treated with antibiotics. Symptoms can also include bloating, stomach cramps, vomiting, muscle aches and a low fever.