The total number of Elizabethkingia cases reported to the  Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) since Nov. 2105 now stands at 59, according to a health department update Mar. 23. At least 17 deaths have been reported in association with this, what the CDC calls, the largest outbreak of Elizabethkingia.

Sen Ron Johnson/US Congress
Sen Ron Johnson/US Congress

Health officials breakdown the cases as follows: 52 Elizabethkingia anophelis cases confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 3 cases currently under investigation and  4 cases classified as “possible”. Wisconsin health officials say they tested positive for Elizabethkingia, but will never be confirmed as the same strain of Elizabethkingia anophelis because the outbreak specimens are no longer available to test.

In related news, Wisconsin Republican Senator and Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Ron Johnson sent a letter to CDC director, Dr Tom Frieden earlier this week requesting information on the outbreak.

Elizabethkingia coverage on Outbreak News Today

According to the letter, Johnson asks Frieden to explain how the federal health agency was made aware of the outbreak, how they allocate personnel, the alerting of health care providers, the number of Elizabethkingia outbreaks previously investigated, why is testing only available at the CDC and  what are the interim findings of the investigation.

Sen Johnson request answers by Apr. 5.



Elizabethkingia anophelis growing on a blood agar plate. Image/CDC's Special Bacteriology Reference Lab
Elizabethkingia anophelis growing on a blood agar plate.
Image/CDC’s Special Bacteriology Reference Lab