At least 6 Illinois deaths linked to rare Elizabethkingia infection

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois health officials are reporting a cluster of cases of a rare bloodstream infection they detected while investigating a Wisconsin outbreak.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Wednesday an additional 10 cases of infection from the bacterium Elizabethkingia, including six deaths. The strain is different from the one in Wisconsin, however.

The majority of the cases are from this year, but some date back to 2014. That’s because Illinois hospitals were asked to help with the Wisconsin investigation by reporting cases back that far.

Officials previously reported one Illinois death related to the same strain of bacteria that caused the Wisconsin outbreak.

It’s unclear exactly what caused the deaths because many of the people also had underlying health conditions.

The bacterium is named for bacteriologist Elizabeth O. King.

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