Outbreaks in Wisconsin

Outbreaks and Investigations

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

E. coli O157:H7 Linked to Romaine Lettuce
Updated 11/20/2018

  • The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and numerous other states are investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections.
  • The current outbreak is not related to the multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to romaine lettuce that occurred earlier in 2018 (see below for Wisconsin-specific information).
  • Nationwide, 32 people from 11 states have been infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 8, 2018, to October 31, 2018.
  • As of 11/20/2018, 13 people have been hospitalized, with no deaths reported. One Wisconsin E. coli O157:H7 infection has been linked to the outbreak.
  • CDC is advising that U.S. consumers not eat any romaine lettuce, and retailers and restaurants not serve or sell any, until we learn more about the outbreak. This investigation is ongoing and the advice will be updated as more information is available.
  • Additional information on the following websites:

Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) Investigation
Updated 11/2/2018

  • Cow milking facilityThe 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:

Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) Investigation
Updated 11/13/18

Digital illustration of a neuron

  • The Department of Health Services (DHS) and local health departments (LHDs) are actively working to identify potential cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). DHS is working with health care providers and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during this developing situation.
  • As of November 12, 2018, there have been six confirmed cases of AFM in Wisconsin.
    • AFM is also called “acute flaccid paralysis with anterior myelitis” or “polio-like syndrome.” It is rare and mainly found in children. It affects the body’s nervous system, specifically the spinal cord. AFM can be caused by some viruses, environmental toxins, and genetic disorders.
    • Viruses that can cause AFM include enteroviruses (polio and non-polio) and flaviviruses such as West Nile Virus, Japanese Encephalitis virus, or St. Louis encephalitis virus. Other viruses that may cause AFM are herpesviruses (e.g., cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus) and adenoviruses.
  • See the DHS AFM webpage for more information on common symptoms and treatment of AFM. Seek medical care as soon as possible if you notice any symptoms of AFM in you or your child, for example if your child is not using their arm or leg normally.
  • Additional information can be found on the following websites:
    • AFM Fact Sheet, P-01298 (Multiple Languages): Educational fact sheet for the general public on AFM covering signs and symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
    • About AFM: CDC webpage including information on symptoms, diagnosis, possible causes of AFM, treatment, and prevention.

Cyclosporiasis Linked to Vegetable Trays
Final Update 9/7/18

Store bought vegetable tray

  • The Department of Health Services (DHS), the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), and local health departments are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate an outbreak of cyclosporiasis linked to the consumption of Del Monte vegetable trays sold at Kwik Trip.
    • 177 cases report consuming a Del Monte vegetable tray purchased at a Kwik Trip location in Wisconsin. Most ill persons reported purchasing the tray on or after May 16, 2018. Kwik Trip voluntarily removed the trays from sale in their stores on June 8, 2018.
    • Consumers should not eat 6 oz. or 12 oz. Del Monte vegetable trays (containing broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and dill dip) purchased at a Kwik Trip location.
    • Del Monte issued a recall of 6 oz, 12 oz, and 24 oz vegetable trays with dip. See the FDA website for full details.
  • As of September 5, 2018, CDC was notified of 250 laboratory-confirmed cases of Cyclospora infection in people from 4 states who reported consuming pre-packaged Del Monte Fresh Produce vegetable trays containing broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and dill dip.
  • Based on epidemiological data or traceback evidence, it was not possible to determine if an individual component of the vegetable trays was the likely vehicle of infection. Read the related statement from the FDA for additional information.
  • See the DHS cyclosporiasis fact sheet for more information on common symptoms and treatment of cyclosporiasis. If you have any symptoms of cyclosporiasis, please contact your doctor.
  • Additional information can be found on the following websites:

Salmonellosis Linked to Kellogg's Honey Smacks Cereal
Updated 9/5/18

Bowl of dry breakfast cereal

Cyclosporiasis Linked to Salads Sold at McDonald's
Updated 8/3/18

Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Contact with Backyard Poultry
Updated 7/27/18

  • Chickens feeding on the grassThe Department of Health Services (DHS) and local health departments are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to contact with backyard poultry.
  • As of July 13, 2018, the CDC reports 212 people infected with an outbreak strain of Salmonella. Children younger than 5 years account for 26% of illnesses.
  • In Wisconsin, 18 laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella have been linked to the national live poultry outbreak.
  • Outbreaks of Salmonella infections linked to contact with backyard poultry happen every year in the U.S. Many of these infections are preventable. Please see our Backyard Poultry flyer for more information about how to prevent these infections.

Salmonellosis Linked to Cut Melons
Updated 6/19/18

Fresh melon cut up and ready to eat

  • DHS and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP are alerting Wisconsin consumers to a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Adelaide infections linked to the consumption of pre-cut melons. At this time, no cases have been identified in Wisconsin residents, but the recalled products were sold at locations in the state.
  • The FDA has identified Costco stores in the following Wisconsin cities as having distributed the recalled pre-cut melon: Bellevue (Green Bay), Grafton, Grand Chute, Menomonee Falls, Middleton, New Berlin, Pewaukee, Pleasant Prairie, and Sun Prairie.
  • The full list of stores distributing this product is available on the FDA’s website and may expand to include other stores as the investigation continues. Consumers who have purchased recalled pre-cut melon from these stores, including fruit salad mixes with pre-cut melon, should not eat it and throw it away.
  • To date, no cases have been reported in Wisconsin, but public health officials continue to monitor for cases. Nationally, 60 people infected with the Salmonella strain have been reported in other Midwest states. States that have reported illnesses include Illinois (six cases), Indiana (11 cases), Michigan (32 cases), Missouri (10 cases), and Ohio (one case).
  • Additional information can be found on the following websites:

Synthetic Cannabinoids (K2, Spice)
Updated 6/26/18

  • Updated case counts in Wisconsin can be found on our synthetic cannabinoid webpage.
  • The CDC is investigating this outbreak across the nation.
  • Share our one-page fact sheet on synthetic cannabinoids (PDF) . Now available in English and Spanish.
  • If you have purchased any of these products in the past month, do not use it. If you have used any of these products, and start experiencing severe, unexplained bleeding or bruising, please have someone take you to the hospital immediately or call 911. Image of Synthetic Cannabinoids fact sheet "K2, Spice, Black Mamba, Fake Weed, Green Giant"

E. coli O157:H7 Linked to Romaine Lettuce - Spring 2018
Final Update 6/28/18

  • The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and numerous other states investigated a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections.
  • Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicated that romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region was the likely source of this outbreak.
  • Nationwide, 210 people from 36 states were infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7. Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 13, 2018, to May 12, 2018.
  • As of 6/28/2018, 96 people were hospitalized, with five deaths reported. Three Wisconsin E. coli O157:H7 infections have been linked to the outbreak.
Last Revised: November 20, 2018