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Melioidosis is an infectious disease caused by a Gram-negative bacterium called Burkholderia pseudomallei.[1] Most people infected with B. pseudomallei experience no symptoms, but those who do experience symptoms have signs and symptoms that range from mild, such as fever, skin changes, pneumonia, and abscesses, to severe with inflammation of the brain, inflammation of the joints, and dangerously low blood pressure that causes death.[1] About 10% of peop

Melioidosis is an infectious disease caused by a Gram-negative bacterium called Burkholderia pseudomallei.[1] Most people infected with B. pseudomallei experience no symptoms, but those who do experience symptoms have signs and symptoms that range from mild, such as fever, skin changes, pneumonia, and abscesses, to severe with inflammation of the brain, inflammation of the joints, and dangerously low blood pressure that causes death.[1] About 10% of people with melioidosis develop symptoms that last longer than two months, termed "chronic melioidosis".[1]

Humans are infected with B. pseudomallei by contact with polluted water. The bacteria enter the body through wounds, inhalation, or ingestion. Person-to-person or animal-to-human transmission is extremely rare.[1] The infection is constantly present in Southeast Asia, particularly in northeast Thailand and northern Australia.[1] In developed countries such as Europe and the United States, melioidosis cases are usually imported from countries where melioidosis is more common.[3] The signs and symptoms of melioidosis resemble tuberculosis and misdiagnosis is common.[2] Diagnosis is usually confirmed by the growth of B. pseudomallei from an infected person's blood or other bodily fluid.[1] Those with melioidosis are treated first with an "intensive phase" course of intravenous antibiotics (most commonly ceftazidime) followed by a several-month treatment course of co-trimoxazole.[1] Even if the disease is properly treated, around 10% of people with melioidosis die from the disease. If the disease is improperly treated, the death rate could reach 40%.[1]

Efforts to prevent melioidosis include wearing protective gear while handling contaminated water, practising hand hygiene, drinking boiled water, and avoiding direct contact with soil, water, or heavy rain.[1] The antibiotic co-trimoxazole is used as a preventive only for individuals at high risk for getting the disease after being exposed to the bacteria.[1] No vaccine for melioidosis has been approved.[1]

Roughly 165,000 people are infected by melioidosis per year, resulting in about 89,000 deaths.[1] Diabetes is a major risk factor for melioidosis; over half of melioidosis cases are in people with diabetes.[1] Increased rainfall is associated with increased number of melioidosis cases in endemic areas.[2] The disease was first described by Alfred Whitmore in 1912 in present-day Myanmar.[4]