Outbreaks in Wisconsin

Outbreaks and Investigations

Below is a list of selected outbreaks and investigations with wide impact in Wisconsin.

Severe Lung Disease Among People who Reported Vaping
Updated 11/7/2019

Wisconsin Case Counts
As of November 7, 2019
We plan to update case counts by 10 a.m. on Thursdays.

More Information about the lung disease and vaping investigation can be found on the Lung Disease and Vaping Investigation webpage.

Media requests should go to the DHS media or 608-266-1683.

  Number of Cases
Confirmed and Probable Cases* 92
Additional Patients Under Investigation 11

*We report confirmed and probable patient cases as one number because the two definitions are very similar, and this is the most accurate way to understand the number of people affected.

Salmonellosis Associated with Consuming Beef Tartare at Restore Public House in La Crosse
Updated 9/6/2019

  • Fresh, paper-thin sliced raw beefThe Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), in collaboration with the La Crosse County Health Department, investigated an outbreak of salmonellosis associated with consuming beef tartare served at Restore Public House in La Crosse between July 10 and July 12, 2019.
  • 35 restaurant patrons were interviewed during the investigation. Seven confirmed and 10 probable (ill but not tested) cases were linked to this outbreak.
  • Restore Public House voluntarily removed the beef tartare dish from their menu once they were notified of the illnesses.
  • See the DHS salmonellosis fact sheet for more information on common symptoms of salmonellosis. If you have any symptoms of salmonellosis, please contact your doctor.
  • Consumption of raw or undercooked meat, poultry, or eggs can increase your risk of foodborne illness. See the DHS food safety webpage for more information on safe food practices.
  • Additional information can be found on the following websites:

Multistate Outbreak of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Infections Linked to Contact with Pig Ear Dog Treats
Final Update 10/30/2019

  • Dried pig ears. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and local health departments worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of salmonellosis linked to contact with pig ear dog treats.
    • As of October 30, 2019, the CDC reports 154 people in 34 states were infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella.
    • 35 people were hospitalized, with no deaths reported. Children younger than 5 years accounted for 19% of illnesses.
    • In Wisconsin, 4 laboratory-confirmed cases were linked to this outbreak.
  • CDC and FDA have dropped their warning to avoid buying or feeding any pig ear treats, except for treats that have been recalled. Consumers should not give recalled pig ears to their pets. Consumers should always wash their hands right after feeding any pig ear treats to their dogs.
    • Several companies recalled pig ear products because they might have been contaminated with Salmonella. No single supplier, distributor, or common brand of pig ear treats has been identified that could account for all the illnesses.
    • Details on pig ear products involved with the outbreak can be found on the FDA webpage.
  • See the DHS salmonellosis fact sheet for more information on common symptoms and treatment of salmonellosis. If you have any symptoms of salmonellosis, please contact your doctor.
  • Additional information can be found on the following websites:

Salmonellosis Linked to Consuming Foods from Outpost Natural Foods
Updated 8/27/2019

  • The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and local health departments are investigating an outbreak of salmonellosis linked to consuming food from Outpost Natural Food locations.
  • On August 23, 2019, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the City of Milwaukee Health Department suspended meat and food processing at Outpost Natural Foods located in Milwaukee at 2826 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. due to insanitary conditions. DATCP has suspended the cooperative's meat establishment license and the City of Milwaukee has suspended the cooperative's retail food processing activities.
  • Insanitary conditions were discovered during a routine inspection and ready-to-eat products tested positive for Salmonella.
  • As of August 26, 2019, there are four people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella found at Outpost Natural Foods; three were available for interview and each reported consuming food from one of the Outpost Natural Food locations.
  • Known patient onset dates range from March 20-May 6, 2019.
  • See the DHS salmonellosis fact sheet for more information on common symptoms and treatment of salmonellosis. If you have any symptoms of salmonellosis, please contact your doctor.

Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Contact with Backyard Poultry
Final Update 11/1/19

Salmonellosis Linked to Vegetable Trays
Final Update 7/11/19

  • Store bought vegetable trayThe Department of Health Services (DHS), the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), Minnesota Department of Health and local health departments worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multi-state outbreak of salmonellosis linked to consumption of certain Del Monte vegetable trays.
  • All ill patients associated with this outbreak, four in Wisconsin and one in Minnesota, reported eating a Del Monte vegetable tray purchased from a Wisconsin or Minnesota Kwik Trip location before they became ill.
  • The Del Monte vegetable trays associated with the investigation contain broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and dill dip. It is not likely that the trays that made people sick are still on the market or still in people’s homes.
  • See the DHS salmonellosis fact sheet, P-42088 for more information on common symptoms and treatment of salmonellosis.
  • Additional information can be found on the following websites:

Legionnaires’ Disease Associated with Christmas Mountain Village Resort in Wisconsin Dells
Updated 6/4/19

  • Closeup of the front of a running shower headThe Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), in collaboration with the Sauk County Health Department, and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), is working closely with Christmas Mountain Village on the investigation of three cases of Legionnaires’ disease associated with Christmas Mountain Village Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.
  • Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by the bacteria Legionella, which can grow inside building water systems (pipes, hot water heaters, etc.).
    • Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease can include cough, fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, and shortness of breath.
    • Legionnaires’ disease is more common in people aged 50 years and older, those who smoke, and among individuals who are at higher risk of infection, such as those with a chronic illness, respiratory disease, or a weakened immune system.
    • Legionnaires' disease is not normally spread from person to person.
    • People can get Legionnaires’ disease after breathing in small water droplets with Legionella. This CDC infographic outlines how Legionella bacteria is spread from water sources to people.
  • An investigation of the resort’s water system at Christmas Mountain Village Resort is ongoing.
    • Christmas Mountain Village Resort is working with a water management company on testing the resort’s water for Legionella and remediation (removal of Legionella from the water system).
    • The resort is continuing to notify guests at the time of reservation and check-in.
    • Point-of-use filters have been installed on showerheads and faucets in all units of the resort. These point-of-use filters are a recommended risk-reduction measure and will stay in place until testing and completing remediation (removal of Legionella) of all units at the resort is complete.
  • People who are planning to visit Christmas Mountain Village should evaluate their risk of infection or talk to their doctor before their visit and may wish to consider postponing their visit until after remediation is complete.
  • DHS and the Sauk County Health Department continue to monitor for new cases potentially associated with the resort. People who become ill with symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease within 14 days of their stay should seek medical attention and mention the information above to their doctor.
  • Additional information can be found on the following websites:

Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) Investigation
Updated 11/2/18

  • Cow milking facilityThe Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is working with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to investigate bovine tuberculosis (TB) in a dairy herd located in Dane County. The Wisconsin TB Program is working with Public Health Madison and Dane County to complete a contact investigation on the farm and identify individuals who may need TB testing.
  • Precautions are being taken by DATCP and the farm to ensure the safety of both meat and milk. Consumers and the general public are not at risk of contracting TB infection from this herd. Food safety laws prevent meat from infected animals from entering the food chain and the pasteurization process destroys disease-causing organisms in milk.
  • People are not at risk if they have made only brief visits to the affected farm, have not consumed raw milk, or have not worked closely for extended periods of time with animals. Visiting the farm, living near the farm, or making deliveries to the farm does not pose a risk for becoming infected with bovine TB.
  • Additional information on bovine TB can be found on the following websites:

Salmonellosis Linked to Cut Melons
Final Update 6/19/19

Fresh melon cut up and ready to eat

  • The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) alerted Wisconsin consumers to a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Carrau infections linked to eating pre-cut melons sold by Caito Foods LLC.
  • One case was reported in Wisconsin and 137 people infected with the Salmonella strain were reported in nine other states.
  • On April 12, 2019, Caito Foods LLC recalled pre-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and pre-cut fruit medley products containing one of these melons supplied at the Caito Foods LLC facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Additional information can be found on the following websites:

Legionnaires' Disease Associated with the University of Wisconsin (UW) Hospital in Madison
Final Update 6/4/19

  • Closeup of the front of a running shower headThe Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Public Health Madison and Dane County, is working closely with UW Health on the investigation of nosocomial Legionnaires’ disease associated with the University Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin.
  • On Nov. 28, 2018, DHS was notified by a UW Health Infection Preventionist of confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease among patients admitted to their hospital since Oct. 31, 2018.
  • As of Jan. 11, 2019, 14 cases of Legionnaires' disease have been identified at University Hospital. Three patients who had been hospitalized for other serious health conditions have died.
  • An environmental investigation at the hospital is ongoing.
  • Legionellosis in an infection caused by Legionella bacteria. There are two different types of legionellosis: Pontiac fever and Legionnaires' disease. Pontiac fever is a mild respiratory illness and Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia.
    • Legionnaires' disease is not normally spread from person to person.
    • This CDC infographic outlines how Legionella bacteria is spread from water sources to people.
  • Additional information can be found on the following websites:

Salmonellosis Linked to Ground Turkey
Final Update 6/19/19

  • Raw ground turkey.The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and local health departments investigated four cases of salmonellosis affecting Wisconsin residents with the same strain (DNA fingerprint) of Salmonella.
  • All four of the Wisconsin patients were linked to Butterball raw ground turkey. Testing of leftover raw ground turkey received by the patients was positive for the outbreak strain of Salmonella.
  • These items were shipped to institutional and retail locations nationwide. The affected ground turkey product may have been distributed through food pantries.
  • As a result of this outbreak, Butterball recalled 78,164 pounds of raw ground turkey products. A complete list of products included in the recall can be found in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Recall notice. The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. P-7345” inside the USDA mark of inspection.
  • Additional information can be found on the following websites:

 

To view previous outbreaks and investigations, please visit our Past Outbreaks in Wisconsin page.

Last Revised: November 14, 2019