An additional six Elizabethkingia anophelis infections has been reported during the past week in Wisconsin’s large and unusual outbreak, bringing the total cases to 54 since Nov. 2015 in twelve counties throughout southern and eastern Wisconsin–Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Jefferson, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sauk, Sheboygan, Washington and Waukesha. At least 15 people have died.
And the mystery behind this outbreak remains…
In an interview on Wisconsin Public Television, (when the outbreak stood at 48), CDC epidemiologist Dr. Michael Bell said that each state reports about a half dozen Elizabethkingia cases annually; however he notes, “We don’t see 48 of the identical organism causing an outbreak like this very often,” he said. “In fact, this is probably the largest one we’ve seen.”
Bell says that people with health and immune system issues are most susceptible to organisms like Elizabethkingia.
He does mention some good news about this organism: Elizabethkingia is not contagious, people with healthy immune systems can easily avoid infection, and medical providers have identified some antibiotics that work against the strain found in Wisconsin.
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