What Makes Elizabethkingia Unique?


Emil Lesho, DO, FACP, FIDSA, FSHEA, explains what makes Elizabethkingia unique.

Emil Lesho, DO, FACP, FIDSA, FSHEA, healthcare epidemiologist in the Infectious Diseases Unit at Rochester Regional Health in Rochester, NY, explains what makes Elizabethkingia unique.

Interview Transcript (modified slightly for readability):

Elizabethkingia anopheles is somewhat unique in that it’s also been isolated from the midgut of the Anopheles mosquito. That’s where it gets its name from. It is mostly a water-borne pathogen. There was a large outbreak involving almost 70 patients and approximately 20 deaths across 3 states, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan. To my knowledge, there was a very thorough outbreak investigation conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Wisconsin Department of Health [where they] investigated all types of sources, including food sources and at the end of 2016, the source remained unidentified. It is associated with water, and all those states are around the Great Lakes. [There could] be some association with that, but, that is pure speculation.

For clinicians, it might be confusing because [the pathogen] underwent 3 name changes. Elizabethkingia is so named after an investigator at the CDC, but that genus was originally named, ‘Flavobacterium.’ Several years ago, that was renamed as Chryseobacterium. Currently, in many of the diagnostic platforms [used] today, the genus is Chryseobacterium, instead of Elizabethkingia.

Elizabethkingia meningoseptica has been found to be associated with outbreaks of meningitis in neonates.

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