Wisconsin public health adds 9 new positions to bolster response to blood infection outbreak

Gov. Scott Walker has approved the addition of nine positions at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, according to an April 8 announcement. The new positions will help to strengthen the response of the Division of Public Health to the state's Elizabethkingia outbreak.

"It is important for us to make sure WDPH has the resources needed to address the Elizabethkingia outbreak, and also maintain the ability to appropriately respond to other communicable disease outbreaks," said WDHS Secretary Kitty Rhoades. "The health of all Wisconsinites is, and will continue to be, our top priority."

Wisconsin's WDPH has also experienced a higher workload due to an increase in tuberculosis cases and preparations for Zika's likely spread in the U.S. as warmer temperatures approach.

The total number of Elizabethkingia bloodstream infections is thought to be as high as 63, with 57 laboratory-confirmed cases. Nineteen deaths have been linked to the infection. The CDC is currently assisting with the investigation. The source of the outbreak remains unknown.

More articles on infection control: 
CDC's 3-step hand-washing technique vs. WHO's 6-step technique: Which is most effective? 
Top 10 infection control stories, April 4-8 
How one small college overcame meningitis: 5 things to know

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