Maine health officials told Maine Today they have found a third case of a resident becoming sick from the same strain of E. coli bacteria involved in a nationwide outbreak.
The case occurred in late August, the same time that the other two cases in the state occurred, a spokesman for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services said.
Dozens of people around the country have been sickened by spinach that has been contaminated by the bacteria, and one death has been reported. Investigators have traced the contamination back to farms in California.
State officials said the latest case, involving a Kennebec County woman, was not initially uncovered in a review last week of E. coli cases in the state since August 1. The spokesman said the sample from that woman was in a different lab and wasn’t linked to the review and genetically matched until Wednesday.
The E. coli in all three samples matches the genetic fingerprint of the bacteria involved in the nationwide outbreak, state health officials said. The other two Maine cases were in Kennebec and Aroostook counties. All three of those sickened have recovered.