Illinois death linked to bacterial infection matching Wisconsin outbreak

The Illinois Department of Health announced Tuesday that a case of Elizabethkingia anophelis has been confirmed in a deceased Illinois resident. The infection matches that of the bacterial strain responsible for the outbreak in Wisconsin.

To date, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has confirmed 57 cases of the same strain Elizabethkingia in the state. There are currently two cases under investigation and another four cases that are suspected but cannot be confirmed as the same strain because specimens are no longer available for laboratory testing. In total, there have been 63 potentially related cases Elizabethkingia in Wisconsin.

Eighteen deaths have also been reported in Wisconsin among the confirmed cases, with an additional death among a possible case for a total of 19 deaths linked to the outbreak in the state. Michigan has also confirmed a case of the bacterial blood infection in a deceased resident.

"Illinois is working closely with the CDC and Wisconsin and Michigan health officials to investigate this outbreak and develop ways to prevent additional infections," said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, MD, "IDPH will continue to coordinate with hospitals and healthcare providers to quickly identify and report cases of Elizabethkingia."

The Wisconsin health department recently added nine new positions to the department's division of public health to bolster the state's response to the outbreak. The CDC has called the outbreak one of the largest of its kind. 

Most of those infected are over the age of 65. Officials have not determined whether the reported deaths were directly caused by the infection or other pre-existing comorbidities. The source of the outbreak remains unknown.

More articles on infection control: 
Post-Ebola syndrome symptoms persist; researchers call for more studies on treatment 
Death toll for Flint water-linked Legionnaires' outbreak climbs to 12 
First-ever worldwide polio vaccine switch attempted

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