Some Things You Must Know about the Mysterious Outbreak of Elizabethkingia


There was a mysterious outbreak of an unknown bacterial illness that had appeared first in Wisconsin and then in two other nearby states namely Illinois and Michigan between 2015 and 2016. This is surely a rare bacterial disease and you need to gather as much information as you can about this disease. The current outbreak of Elizabethkingia was actually first documented in November in the year 2015. The cases in these three states were acknowledged as the first reportedoutbreak of Elizabethkingia Anopheles in the USA and the biggest ever outbreak of Elizabethkingia recorded so far.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has announced the death of a patient due to an infection caused by the bacteria Elizabethkingia Anopheles. It has already been recorded that in Wisconsin around 59 people have already been infected by the same bacteria and also one person is down with this rare bacterial infection in Michigan.  In April 2016 it has been confirmed that the sudden outbreak of this rare bacterial disease has so far led to 20 deaths.

Older adults and patients suffering from some other serious health issues have been so far afflicted by the Elizabethkingia Anopheles.  The infection has been typically presenting itself as septicemia and this could be fatal if immediate treatment with effective antibiotics is not administered promptly. Any delays in treatment could lead to fatality. The rate of mortality during the current outbreak is about 30 percent though it is not perfectly clear if the death occurred due to Elizabethkingia infection or because of any underlying cause or due to both, in these casualties. Here are a few vital things to know regarding the current outbreak of the rare bacterial infection called Elizabethkingia Anopheles.

What Is the Reason for This Outbreak to Be Termed as Unusual?

One main reason why this mysterious outbreak is puzzling the medical fraternity is that Elizabethkingia hardly causes any illness in people. Usually, states in the USA would be reporting about five to ten cases afflicted by Elizabethkingia infections every year. The current outbreak has been acknowledged as the largest ever triggered by this particular strain of bacteria found in the United States of America.

Who Are at a Risk Most?

Older adults and patients who are suffering from serious clinical conditions are typically susceptible to Elizabethkingia infections. Elizabethkingia has been named after the famous American bacteriologist Elizabeth King. Most of the cases occurred in patients over the age of 65 and those who had relatively weakened the immune system.

How Fatal Is the Bacteria?

Statistics reveal that one-third of all the Elizabethkingia victims in the present outbreak have actually lost their lives. However, the officials are still not 100 percent sure that this rare bacterium has been directly responsible for the multiple deaths.

Where Exactly Did the Rare Bacteria Come from?

Elizabethkingia has been commonly traced back to rivers, soil, and even reservoirs, however, officials have not been able to yet determine the actual source of the rare bacteria involved in the latest outbreak. Officials are actually testing samples from all the facilities where affected patients were being treated, including water sources and health care products, but so far no luck. Not even one of the samples is known to have tested positive so far for the bacteria.

How Is Elizabethkingia Anopheles Treated?

Elizabethkingia has been found to be resistant to numerous antibiotics that are typically used by doctors for treating bacterial infections. But thankfully, doctors have been successful in identifyingsome other antibiotics that have been proven to effectively treat the bacteria featuring the current outbreak. Some of the effective antibiotics that help in the treatment of Elizabethkingia infections includerifampin, fluoroquinolones, sulfamethoxazole, and Trimethoprim.


It is important to catch the symptoms early and detect the disease promptly so that patients do not lose precious time and they are able to avail prompt and appropriate treatment.

Author Bio: Isabella Rossellinee is a medical researcher. She is presently studying the Elizabeth King bacteria, its adverse effects and possible cures. She also records her progress and updates on her blog.


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