Health Officials Warn About Elizabethkingia Outbreak

Health Officials Warn About Elizabethkingia Outbreak

Wisconsin health officials are warning residents about an outbreak of Elizabethkingia, a rare blood infection that has sickened dozens in the state.

Authorities have discovered the bacteria in 44 people since November, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said this week.

“Case counts may change as additional illnesses are identified and more cases are laboratory confirmed,” it said in a statement.

Officials said most of the patients are over age 65 with a history of underlying health conditions.

Symptoms include shortness of breath, fever, chills and cellulitis. A laboratory test is needed to confirm infection.

“Elizabethkingia are bacteria that are rarely reported to cause illness in humans, and are uncommon colonizers of the respiratory tract,” the statement said.

The bacteria is named after American bacteriologist Elizabeth King, who discovered it in 1959.

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