updated 6/25/2008 3:12:26 PM ET 2008-06-25T19:12:26

A raw ground beef sample linked to an E. coli case in Ohio has tested positive for the bacteria, Ohio Department of Health officials said.

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The department is testing the sample to see if it matches an E. coli strain that has sickened at least 17 people in Ohio and 15 in Michigan, spokesman Kristopher Weiss said Tuesday.

The Michigan Department of Health said more than half of that state's residents affected by the illness reported buying and eating ground beef from Kroger groceries.

The beef was available in late May and early June in some Michigan stores and in stores in the Columbus and Toledo areas of Ohio and is no longer on store shelves, said Meghan Glynn, spokeswoman for Cincinnati-based Kroger.

"We are working with state and federal investigators to determine the supplier," Glynn said. "Food safety is very important to us, and we take these issues seriously."

Of 24 cases confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 people have been hospitalized and one patient developed kidney failure. People became ill in late May and early June, according to the CDC.

No deaths have been reported.

Symptoms of E. coli infection can include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and fever. Most people recover within 5-7 days.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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