An outbreak of infections in Wisconsin caused by Elizabethkingia anophelis bacteria may be associated with 18 recent deaths in the state. The exact cause of the outbreak is currently unknown, and was first recognized by the Division of Public Health in Wisconsin in late December, 2015.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has sent 5 employees to investigate the outbreak, who will join their Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and Division of Public Health (DPH) counterparts who are already working to pinpoint the source of the outbreak.
The Elizabethkingia infection has been detected in 44 patients with serious health conditions, confined to southeast and southern Wisconsin, and is associated with high mortality. The illness associated with Elizabethkingia typically affects people with compromised immune systems or serious underlying health conditions. Early detection and effective antibiotic treatment is critical to increase the probability of positive outcomes. Signs and symptoms can include fever, shortness of breath, chill or cellulitis; confirmation of illness requires lab testing.