Health officials have confirmed that a western Michigan resident died after contracting a bloodstream infection matching a Wisconsin outbreak that's stumped health officials. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday that it was notified March 11 by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the match. The person was described as an older adult with underlying health conditions. Officials were trying to determine where the infection was contracted, Michigan health department spokeswoman Jennifer Eisner said in an email. The Michigan case has the "same genetic fingerprint" as the ones in Wisconsin, CDC spokeswoman Melissa Brower told the AP on Thursday.
In Wisconsin, 17 people with infections caused by Elizabethkingia bacteria have died since November. The outbreak is the largest recorded in published literature, officials have said. Wisconsin health officials said on their website earlier this month that the total number of reported cases stood then at 48. Elizabethkingia is common in the environment, including water and soil, but it rarely causes infections. "We really don't know how this person in Michigan may have contracted it," Brower added. But "it shouldn't be assumed that this person has been in Wisconsin because it's the same geographic region" as Michigan, she said. (Read more bacteria stories.)