MARK FELDMANN email@example.com 0
"RACINE COUNTY — A deadly outbreak of bacterial bloodstream infections in Wisconsin — the first of its kind in the nation — has reached into Racine County, officials said.
"The state Department of Health Services (DHS) Division of Public Health is investigating 44 cases of bloodstream infections caused by bacteria called Elizabethkingia that occurred between Nov. 1, 2015 and March 2 in southeastern and southern Wisconsin.
"Of the 44 cases, 18 patients have died, although state health officials do not know if the bacterial infection played any role in the deaths.
"At least one case has been reported in Racine County, officials confirmed. They would not reveal how many cases or if there have been any deaths here.
"Cases were also reported in Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Jefferson, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Sauk, Washington and Waukesha counties, according to the DHS.
"Officials at Wheaton Franciscan-All Saints Hospital and Aurora Health Care directed all questions about the outbreak to state officials.
"'The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has reached out to let us know that they are looking into cases of Elizabethkingia infections, which typically impacts people with compromised immune systems,' said Tami Kou, director of public affairs at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee. 'We are working with the state on this matter to help provide our assistance.'
"The regional healthcare system operates Aurora Memorial Hospital of Burlington and several clinics in Racine County.
"'As soon as we were notified of the potential outbreak, Wisconsin’s disease detectives began working immediately to identify the source,' McKeown said.
"Those detectives are working with epidemiologists and laboratory partners from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to find answers, McKeown said.
"The experts so far have discovered that this is the first outbreak of this strain of bacteria in the nation, said Stephanie Smiley, director of the DHS’s bureau of communicable diseases.
"'“We don’t know much right now, but we do know it’s unique and it’s rare,' Smiley said. 'We also know that older individuals with serious conditions who have received treatment from a health care provider are suddenly becoming very ill.'
"Patients with the infection suffered from fever, shortness of breath, and chills. The infection is detected through a blood test. Patients identified with the infection are being treated with antibiotics, Smiley said.
"There is no indication that the infection is contagious or has been spread from person to person, she said."
Read more: http://journaltimes.com/news/local/elizabethkingia-reaches-into-racine-county/article_b5ae77f7-dd97-5779-9ad6-4754f22bafdf.html
"The majority of infected patients are 65 or older, and all have serious underlying health conditions like cancer or kidney failure, said State Health Officer Karen McKeown."