The outbreak of Elizabethkingia anophelis in southeastern and southern Wisconsin is “very worrisome” to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to ABC News’s Chief Health and Medical editor and former CDC official, Dr. Richard Besser.

The outbreak has affected 44 people in 11 Wisconsin counties and 18 deaths have been recorded (although it has not been determined if the cause is the bacterial infection) since Nov. 2015.

Besser said in a interview on Good Morning America that he spoke to officials at the CDC and noted,”Elizabethkingia is a newly recognized species of this bacteria that can cause bloodstream infections and meningitis.

“This is the first outbreak they’ve seen. Typically there are 5-10 cases per state, per year. So it’s very worrisome what’s happening here, they’re not really sure why.

“It’s in the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.”

Five CDC “Disease Detectives” have been sent to Wisconsin to assist in the investigation. The investigation will surround trying to determine any connection between the cases to include reviewing medical records, testing water supply and interviews of patients.