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CDC Sends More Investigators to Wisconsin to ID Cause of Deadly Bloodstream Infection

The infection has been linked to at least 18 deaths and 26 illnesses, in 11 Wisconsin counties - all in the southeast and south. The infection is now considered the largest of its type on record, caused by the bacterium Elizabethkingia. According to the state Dept. of Health Services, most people infected are over age 65 with serious, underlying health problems.

While the agency continues searching for the source of the outbreak, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has dispatched eight epidemiologists and lab technicians to help.

The first potential cases were reported in late December. Since then, the state has alerted health care providers, laboratories and local health leaders to watch for the infection and has advised them on appropriate treatment.

“Determining the source of the bacteria affecting patients in Wisconsin is a complex process,” according to state Health Officer Karen McKeown.”