Reports tied to a bloodstream infection outbreak in Wisconsin became even more concerning when news sources broke the story that one infection matching the Wisconsin strain was also found in a patient in Michigan.
The report was initially released by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.
The release says that the infection was confirmed when health officials tested blood samples coming from an older adult from West Michigan. The patent had underlying health conditions but was also exposed to Elizabethkingia anophelis, which is an illness that often impacts immunocompromised persons.
The infection has already impacted 54 people in 12 Wisconsin counties across Lake Michigan. At least 17 people who were exposed to the bacteria have died. The origin of the infection and why so many patients in the impacted areas are being exposed to the organism is still under investigation.
According to several news sources, Michigan authorities are working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wisconsin Health Department in order to learn more about the origin of the infection, how it spread, and how dangerous it may be to other patients in both states.
According to officials investigating the outbreaks, it’s important that patients are diagnosed promptly to avoid deadly consequences, especially because patients who are vulnerable have weak or compromised immune systems.
So far, authorities aren’t aware of where the patient is from. Nevertheless, people in the region are urged caution.
Elizabethkingia is often dangerous because it impacts people with weak immune systems, making it particularly dangerous among people who are 65-years-old and older. Consumers who are exposed to the bacteria usually experience fever, shortness of breath, chills, or cellulitis.
According to the CDC, most cases are linked to patients who have been infected with Elizabethkingia while in hospitals or in nursing homes. Since the infection is not common in the community, the authorities will have to urge local hospitals and nursing facilities to cooperate with the investigation in order to help them identify the root of the issue in a timely fashion.
While Elizabethkingia hasn’t caused many outbreaks in the past, this time, things are different. Health officials claim that, unlike past similar outbreaks, the current crisis is tied to bacteria that has been causing severe infections. Since the cases are not concentrated in one facility, authorities are working with a series of different scenarios.
For more information on this outbreak and how important it is to stay alert, click here.