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First case of contaminated spinach recorded in Canada

Canada has confirmed the first illness related to the outbreak of E. coli involving spinach grown in the U.S.

Canada has confirmedits first illnessrelated to the outbreak ofE. coliinvolving spinach grown in the U.S.

A 43-year-old woman in Renfrew County, Ont., became ill in early September and had to be hospitalized,the province's Health Ministry said Monday. She has since been released.

Health officials said she had a strain ofE. colithat is an exact genetic match to the strain that has killed one American and caused 173 to become sick.

It has yet to be determined exactly where the woman purchased the contaminated spinach, but officials say it was in Canada.

Meanwhile,a bag of contaminated spinach found in Utah couldoffer more clues aboutthe source of the E. coli bacteria.

U.S. health officialssaidcases linked tothe E. coli bacteria outbreak continue to grow, despite advisories thatconsumers not eat fresh spinach. Two more people were reportedill Sunday.Health officials areinvestigating two more deaths, possibly related to the case.

Seattle-based Triple B Corp. on Friday issued a recall of salad products distributed in the Northeast U.S. because they may contain spinach contaminated with E. coli, said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

A bag of contaminated spinach found last week in New Mexico led investigators to identify three suspect farms in California's Salinas Valley. Inspectors spent the past week surveying farmers' fields in the county, examining fertilizer and water sources.

Officials have confirmed that the E. coli strain O157:H7 was present in the contaminated spinach. The O157:H7 strain, a deadly form of the bacteria, contaminated the water in Walkerton, Ont., in 2000, killing seven people.

E. coli stands for Escherichia coli, a species of bacteria that lives in animal intestines.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is continuing to warn consumers not to eat fresh spinach imported from the U.S.

With files from the Associated Press