Elizabethkingia, Rare Blood Disease In Wisconsin & Michigan: Here’s What We Know So Far

Elizabethkingia, Rare Blood Disease In Wisconsin & Michigan: Here’s What We Know So Far
Culture Swab Reuben Strayer / FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0
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After nearly four months of plaguing the state of Wisconsin, the dreaded disease Elizabethkingia outbreak has spread across Michigan, which is nearly 400 miles away from where the outbreak originated.


In a statement, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has confirmed that one of the 17 confirmed cases of Elizabethkingia in the state is related to the ongoing outbreak of the same disease in Wisconsin. The report adds that the disease is caused by the bacteria Elizabeth anopheles.

The state health department established the link between cases in two places separated by hundreds of miles away through the laboratory results of the patient’s blood culture isolates.

Of the 17 confirmed cases of Elizabethkingia in the same state, one has resulted in the death of an older adult in the West Michigan. The report adds that the first casualty due to the Elizabethkingia was an elderly with compromised immune system due to an underlying medical condition at the time of the infection.

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“Michigan has worked closely with the CDC and Wisconsin Health Department to alert our provider community about the Wisconsin outbreak and to ensure early recognition of potential cases in our state,” MDHHS medical chief Dr. Eden Wells was quoted as saying by the report.

As of March 18 advisory from the Wisconsin Department of Health Sciences (WDHS), the total number of confirmed cases of Elizabethkingia across the state of Wisconsin has now reached to 54, 17 of whom has so far died. The WDHS adds that most of patients who contracted the disease are those older individual age 65 and above and with an underlying medical condition.

The first documented Elizabeth outbreak in the US has been recorded in Wisconsin since November 1 of last year. Both the WDHS and the MDHHS have pointed out that the dreaded disease is difficult to treat as it can quickly develop resistance to commonly prescribed antibiotics today. Thus, medical health professionals emphasize the importance of early detection of the bacteria in fighting the outbreak.

Also read: ‘The Walking Dead’ Epidemic Sweeps Florida

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