A rare virus called Elizabethkingia is quickly spreading throughout the Western portion of the United States with reports of 20 deaths in three states. The bacterium colonizes in the respiratory tract and infects the bloodstream. Studies have found the bacterium doesn’t usually cause sickness in humans. But those who suffer from weakened immune systems are at higher risk.
Elizabethkingia is commonly in reservoir soil in river water, healthcare or hospital facility, and a few other places. The CDC has reported that the bacteria are spreading across some Midwestern states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois.
Michigan has confirmed 1 case of the bacteria along with Illinois, which sadly was two deaths due to the bacteria. Wisconsin has 59 cases of the Elizabethkingia bacteria and 18 deaths among the outbreak.
Some of the symptoms include shortness of breath, chills, shaking, fever, and cellulitis; a bacterial infection on the skin. Cellulitis will be tender to the touch and may also feel hot on the skin due to redness and swelling.
It is important to keep in mind that someone with a chronic illness will experience worse symptoms than those without. Diabetes, chronic renal disease, alcohol cirrhosis, those on dialysis, or those with other chronic conditions, are at risk for greater complications if they contract the bacteria.
If you believe you have signs of the Elizabethkingia symptoms, a lab test is requires to be diagnosed. The Center for Disease Control stated many different kinds of antibiotics can treat Elizabethkingia bacteria in its early stages. The antibiotic regimen is typically with a combination of other medicines and antibiotics.
Elizabethkingia identifies in 1959 by bacteriologist Elizabeth King while studying pediatric meningitis when she was working for The Center for Disease Control. As a result of the outbreak in the Midwestern, the Center for Disease Control has started an investigation to figure out why Elizabethkingia bacteria is mostly affecting the state of Wisconsin.
Most of the time there are very sporadic cases of the Elizabethkingia; bacteria may be found once or twice a year if that. Authorities say the outbreak has been going on for a couple of months and don’t expect it to spread much further than it already has at this time.