ST. PAUL (AP) -- Four more people have been sickened in the E. coli outbreak linked to ground beef from a Wisconsin meat packer, bringing the number of illnesses to about 40.
A spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Health said a woman and a 2-year-old girl from Minnesota were confirmed Thursday to have the same E. coli subtype linked to the outbreak. So far, 34 Minnesotans have been sickened.
The other two new cases were in Wisconsin, bringing that state's total to five.
Three women in Eau Claire County, a 5-year-old from Brown County and a 3-year-old from La Crosse County all were ill.
Iowa health officials said a woman there was sickened by the same E. coli subtype, but more investigation is needed to confirm that her illness is linked to the same outbreak.
Minnesota health and agriculture officials also issued a statement Thursday saying they are confident that ground beef produced at American Foods Group Inc. on Nov. 2 and 3 can be linked to the initial E. coli illnesses in Minnesota.
The statement came two days after American Foods announced it would pay all nonreimbursed medical expenses for outbreak victims even though, the company said, it wasn't clear that its beef was linked to the outbreak.
The Green Bay, Wis., meat processor has recalled more than 1 million pounds of ground beef in 23 states.
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