Elizabethkingia Outbreak Update

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WDHS) has reported over sixty confirmed or possible cases of Elizabethkingia anophelis infection resulting in over 18 deaths since November 2015. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recently announced 10 confirmed cases of infection resulting in 6 deaths. In addition, the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) reported a single case in an older adult that resulted in death. The majority of fatal cases occurred in people over the age of 65 who had serious existing health problems, making the proximate cause of death difficult to determine.  

Elizabethkingia anophelis is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium commonly found in soil.  It is an opportunistic pathogen, only rarely associated with disease in healthy individuals.

Sources of contamination being considered for this outbreak include water, healthcare products/devices, and the patient environment. No definitive source or reservoir of the outbreak has been identified at this time.

The CDC has taken an active role in assisting local and state agencies with their investigations by interviewing patients, obtaining samples and performing additional laboratory testing. Healthcare providers are encouraged to consider Elizabethkingia anophelis as a potential cause of bloodstream infections and to report all cases accordingly