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3rd death linked to E. coli outbreak from tainted spinach

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(CNN) -- The death of an elderly Nebraska woman has been linked to an outbreak of E. coli from tainted spinach, state health officials said Friday.

Laboratory tests and DNA fingerprinting confirmed the death was from the O157:H7 strain of E. coli, the state Health and Human Services System said Friday. The woman died in late August, said spokeswoman Marla Augustine.

Two other deaths -- a Wisconsin adult and a 2-year-old Idaho boy -- have also been determined to be from the E. coli outbreak.(Watch spinach going back in stores -- 1:53 Video)

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration said 199 people in 26 states had been sickened by the O157:H7 strain of E. coli.

The state of Maryland has been investigating what federal officials have called a second "suspect case," an elderly woman who died Sept. 13 after consuming fresh spinach. Although E. coli was found in her body, DNA fingerprinting to confirm it was linked to the spinach has not been possible, the CDC said.

Federal officials have been investigating the outbreak, which was found to originate in spinach grown in three California counties. (Watch agents search produce plants -- 1:49 Video)


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