(CBS) — A bacterial infection called Elizabethkingia has already claimed 18 lives in Wisconsin. Now the first case confirmed here in Illinois has taken another life, reports CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey.
Fifty-two-year-old Kimberly Cencula of Lake Villa is the first person in Illinois to contract and die from the mysterious Elizabethkingia bacteria.
It’s unknown right now exactly how she contracted it.
“It’s a bacteria that exists normally in the environment,” said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “It exists in water and soil. It’s everywhere around us.”
Dr. Shah says the bacteria is relatively new.
“It is an area of intense scientific investigation right now,” he said. “We are working very closely with the Wisconsin Department of Health.”
“Even with the CDC up there working with the Wisconsin Department of Health, they haven’t found where it’s coming from,” said infectious disease expert Dr. James Malow.