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The mysterious bacteria that is killing people in Wisconsin

The mysterious bacteria that is killing people in Wisconsin

The case that we are going to tell you today is worthy of one of the detective's books Sherlock Holmes.

In the last months, 54 people from different corners of Wisconsin have been infected by Elizabethkingia anophelis, a very common bacteria in the nature, which was isolated in 2011 in the intestines of a mosquito.

The disease has already ended the life of 15 peopleTherefore, it is very important to locate the source of the infection and stop it. However, it is not proving easy, as the bacteria seems to be very elusive.

How does this bacteria affect human health?


Once this bacteria infects a person, it enters their bloodstream, causing you problems like fever, shortness of breath, chills, and skin problems. In addition, in patients seniors, with previous conditions or immunosuppressed can provoke sepsis and with it the death.

Most of the patients who have died so far had over 65 years and previous health problems, but that does not stop it from being worrying.

Where has the Wisconsin bacteria come from?

Infected patients come from 12 different counties of Wisconsin. Some live in senior centers, others were admitted to the hospital and many others live quietly in his house, without having received medical attention in the last days.

So where does the bacteria come from? It seems obvious to think about supplying Wisconsin drinking water, but according to Wired the director of the Center for Disease ControlIt had already been analyzed and there seemed to be no trace of the microbe.

This has led to a group of scientists becoming real detectives and interrogate one by one all those affected, looking for some common habit Among all: food consumption, use of cosmetics, visits to the same place, whatever. Unfortunately, at the moment these questionnaires have not given any results, so it is necessary to take into account other transmission channels.

As I told you at the beginning, these bacteria were isolated from intestine of a mosquito and, although it has not been possible to demonstrate that these serve as vectors of the disease, at the moment it is best not to rule out 100% of any possibility.

Until 80 researchers They are working, looking for the focus of infection. It's funny how so many people are needed to find something so small. That I know is a real needle in a haystack. Hopefully they find it.

Cover image | Daniela Kloth /