Elizabethkingia update in Wisconsin - Outbreak News Today | Outbreak News Today Outbreak News Today
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The largest known outbreak of  Elizabethkingia anophelis in Wisconsin has grown by two cases and months later, the source of the outbreak remains unknown.

Three individual Elizabethkingia anophelis colonies growing next to each other on blood agar. Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Special Bacteriology Reference Lab.

Three individual Elizabethkingia anophelis colonies growing next to each other on blood agar.
Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Special Bacteriology Reference Lab.

According to Wisconsin health officials Wednesday, 65 cases have been reported, with 59 of them confirmed, 2 under investigation, and 4 possible cases. Nineteen deaths have been reported, 18 in confirmed cases and 1 among the possible cases. Patients are from 12 Wisconsin counties.

Disease detectives from the Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are conducting a comprehensive investigation which includes:

  • Interviewing patients with Elizabethkingia anophelis infection and/or their families to gather information about activities and exposures related to healthcare products, food, water, restaurants, and other community settings.
  • Obtaining environmental and product samples from facilities that have treated patients with Elizabethkingia anophelis infections. To date, these samples have tested negative and there is no indication the bacteria was spread by a single healthcare facility.
  • Conducting a review of medical records.
  • Obtaining nose and throat swabs from individuals receiving care on the same units in health care facilities as a patient with a confirmed Elizabethkingia anophelis to determine if they are carrying the bacteria.  To date, all of these specimens tested negative, which suggests the bacteria is not spreading from person to person in healthcare settings.
  • Obtaining nose and throat swabs from household contacts of patients with confirmed cases to identify if there may have been exposure in their household environment.
  • Performing a “social network” analysis to examine any commonalities shared between patients including healthcare facilities or shared locations or activities in the community.

In addition, local media report an infant being treated at a NICU at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin has tested positive for a strain of the Elizabethkingia. Children’s Hospital said there was no indication that the child’s infection is serious, and that no additional precautions are necessary because the bacteria is not easily transmitted from person to person.

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