A deadly outbreak that has killed 18 in Wisconsin has now been linked here

In early February, and again in March, The Illinois Department of Public Health sent alerts to hospitals requesting they report all cases of Elizabethkingia and save any specimens for possible testing at public health laboratories.

Elizabethkingia is a genus of bacteria commonly found in the environment worldwide and has been detected in soil, river water and reservoirs.  However, it rarely makes people sick.  Cases are diagnosed through culture of body fluids, most often blood testing. Elizabethkingia has mostly caused meningitis in newborn babies and meningitis or bloodstream and respiratory infections in people with weakened immune systems.- The Centers for Disease Control and prevention

To date, Wisconsin is reporting 57 confirmed cases, including 18 deaths; Michigan is reporting one confirmed case, including one death; and Illinois is reporting one confirmed case, including one death.

Most of the reported infections have been bloodstream infections, but some patients have had Elizabethkingia isolated from other sites, like their respiratory systems or joints.  The majority of the patients who have had Elizabethkingia infections are over 65, and all have had current health conditions.

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Health officials are testing samples from a variety of potential sources, including health care products, water sources, and the environment.  To date, none of these has been identified as the source of the bacteria.  CDC will continue to work with Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WDHS)Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to identify the source of the bacteria and develop ways to prevent these infections.