MADISON -- Records show Wisconsin health officials waited several months to announce an outbreak of a rare bloodstream infection to the public.
WBAY-TV obtained the records under an open records request. The station reported Friday the Wisconsin Department of Health Services began investigating the outbreak of the bacteria known as Elizabethkingia in December.
The department told hospitals and labs to be on the lookout for the infection in January, but waited to announce it to the public in March.
Gov. Scott Walker says when it became clear health officials couldn't find the source of the outbreak on their own, they went to the public.
The department says it wanted to avoid inspiring fear among the public.
Eighteen deaths have been linked to the outbreak in Wisconsin. The source remains unknown.