According to the Washington State Department of Health, nine Thurston and Pierce county adults and children fell ill in May with stool culture confirmed E. coli O157:H7 infections that appear to have come from contaminated romaine lettuce served in either a school or restaurant setting.  A 10th person, who was ill but who was not tested, also consumed romaine lettuce.

Six of those who fell ill were Pierce County residents.  Two were hospitalized.  Some or all of the ill ate salads at Pacific Lutheran University.

In Thurston County, all four victims were teenagers. Three attend Olympia’s Capital High School.  The fourth goes to Marshall Middle School.

Officials have not yet discovered the source of the romaine lettuce.  So far the investigation has narrowed to three produce distributors which source from California.  In other words – “the noose tightens.”

The Salinas Californian jumped into the hunt this morning (by reading my blog)

An E. coli outbreak in Washington State linked to romaine lettuce by health authorities has Salinas Valley growers nervous.

In late May, at least nine people – a possible tenth went untested – were sickened by E. coli bacteria in two counties in the Puget Sound area of Washington State. Officials for the Washington State Department of Health are pointing to romaine lettuce served in educational institutions as the source of contamination, according to, published by Bill Marler, the Seattle-based lawyer who represents many of those sickened in a 2006 E. coli outbreak traced back to Central Coast bagged spinach salad.

While the source of the romaine is unknown, at this time of year it is likely to have come from the Salinas Valley, said Dennis Donohue, chairman of the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California and Salinas mayor.