Officials investigate infection linked to 18 deaths in Wisconsin

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MADISON, Wis. — A team of federal, state and local investigators are looking for the source of a bacterial bloodstream infection linked to 18 deaths in Wisconsin.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has sent a team of investigators to Wisconsin to find out how the bacteria, Elizabethkingia, has infected 44 people.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says the majority of those infected are over age 65, and all have serious underlying health conditions. State health officer Karen McKeown says the 18 people who died tested positive for the bacteria, but it has not been determined if their deaths were caused by the infection, their health conditions, or both.

Health officials say symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, chills or a bacterial skin infection.