Mysterious Infection Linked to 18 Deaths in Wisconsin Mar 4, 2016 20:45:10 GMT -5
Post by Joanna on Mar 4, 2016 20:45:10 GMT -5
Mysterious Infection Linked to 18 Deaths in Wisconsin
Wisconsin officials are investigating a mysterious blood-borne illness that has infected at least 44 people and possibly killed 18 in the past few months, NBC reports.
State Health Officer Karen McKeown says officials are excepting more cases. The bacteria called Elizabethkingia anophelis infect the bloodstream and most of those infected are people over the age of 65 in southwestern parts of the state. Additionally, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has noted that all those infected have at least one serious underlying illness. In those who have died, health officials have been unable to determine whether the infection or the underlying condition killed them.
Health officials are testing water, skin care products and over-the-counter medications in an attempt to locate the source, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. A state officer told the paper there were no common themes in those infected that led to a source, yet. Meanwhile, a director with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) described the bacteria as “a difficult one.” Chris Braden with the CDC told the revealed the infection is so rare there aren’t any national records on how often people become ill or die from it.
The Wisconsin outbreak is the largest there has ever been, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. Thus far, the outbreak affects 11 counties: Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Jefferson, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sauk, Washington and Waukesha. So far, the outbreak has not spread to Minnesota or any other states.
Signs and symptoms of the disease include fever, shortness of breath, fever, chills or cellulitis (skin infection). The infection is treated with antibiotics if it is caught in time, however, the bacteria are resistant to some antibiotics. Elizabethkingia anophelis is named for American bacteriologist Elizabeth O. King who first reported it in 1959.
Source: Josette Elieff, Bring Me the News, March 4, 2016.