BEACON TRANSCRIPT – While the health authorities in Wisconsin are still trying to contain the potentially deadly strain of bacteria, which can cause a rare blood infection. Michigan has recently reported the first case of the rare blood disease. The condition seems to affect patients in their 60s, with severe underlying illnesses.
Ever since November, Wisconsin’s Health Department has worked side-by-side with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the hope of finding the source of a rare blood infection caused by a bacteria called Elizabethkingia meningoseptica.
According to the Health Department from Wisconsin, approximately 54 cases of Elizabethkingiam were isolated so far. On Thursday, Michigan reported its first occurrence of the disease. The person in question was an elderly person residing in Michigan.
Unfortunately, due to his condition, the patient perished. Health authorities are still unsure whether the infection caused his death of his underlying condition.
So far, 53 cases of Elizabethkingiam have been identified in Wisconsin, the last from Michigan being the 54th. As a result of this outbreak, approximately 17 persons have lost their lives.
In an official press conference, Wisconsin’s Health Department released the following statement. Apparently, all patients diagnosed with the rare blood infection were over 65 years old and suffered from one or more severe underlying condition.
Moreover, the bacteria, named after the scientist who isolated it in the late 50s, mainly affects those with a weak immune system or those with a compromised immune system as a result of a severe underlying condition.
As the health authorities explain, the bacteria reside in the soil, in river water, and contaminated reservoirs. However, the doctors said that seldom Elizabethkingia meningoseptica infects human hosts.
This is hardly the first outbreak of the rare blood infection, according to the health authorities. In the past, infection with this rare blood disorder has been roughly associated with inadequate healthcare.
Wisconsin’s Department of Health is currently conducting autopsies on the deceased patients to establish if the infection or the underlying condition caused their deaths.
Meanwhile, both Wisconsin and Michigan have requested the assistance of CDC to contain and to identify the source of the rare blood infection. Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the CDC, said that several medical researchers are currently working around-the-clock to determine the origin of the disease.
Elizabethkingiam is caused by a bacteria called Elizabethkingia meningoseptica, a gram-negative bacteria, which was discovered in 1958 by Elizabeth O. King, a bacteriologist. At that time, Doctor King was, working for the CDC, investigated the outbreaks of meningitis in pediatric hospitals.
The rare blood infection can cause cellulitis, chill, shortness of breath and fever. Unfortunately, the condition is very hard to treat since Elizabethkingia meningoseptica in an antibiotic-resistant bacteria.