Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) United States, identified for the first time in environmental and domestic samples the bacteria that causes melioidosis, a disease considered rare and serious. The center arrived at the discovery of the Burkholderia pseudomalleialso called B. pseudomallei, through soil and water sampling from the Mississippi Gulf Coast region. The information was released by the CDC last Wednesday, the 27th.
The identification prompted researchers at the control center to trigger a national alert for all doctors in the United States. The intention is to draw attention so that health professionals are aware of the signs and symptoms of melioidosis, and that they consider that patients who present symptoms of the disease may have the disease caused by the bacterium B. pseudomallei.
Melioidosis is a disease seen as rare but serious. Symptoms are nonspecific, but infected patients often experience fever, joint pain, and headache. According to experts, the condition can still worsen to pneumonia, abscess formation or blood infections. Conditions that make the disease lethal: 10% to 50% of people diagnosed with melioidosis die.
However, as cases of the pathology are low in the United States, the CDC understands that the risk of the disease reaching the general population is very low. The country records, on average, 12 cases of melioidosis per year, some of which are imported from endemic countries.
The bacterium B. pseudomallei has historically been found in tropical and subtropical areas such as southern and southeastern Asia, northern Australia and parts of Central and South America and Puerto Rico. The characteristics are similar to the Mississippi Gulf Coast (southern United States), where the bacterium was identified for the first time.
The CDC and state officials collected household samples at the site because two people, who live near the Gulf Coast region, were diagnosed with melioidosis two years apart — one in 2020 and one in 2022. Content collection was performed. done near their home.
Three of the samples taken from soil and water from puddles tested positive for B. pseudomallei, according to the CDC. The research indicated that the bacteria found were possibly the source of infection for the two individuals.
Melioidosis is caused, precisely, by direct contact with B. pseudomallei, which is found in contaminated soil and water. For this reason, the CDC warns that residents of the region, especially those with more fragile health – such as having diabetes, chronic kidney disease and lung disease – should be aware.
The center’s recommendations to reduce the chances of a possible contracting the B. pseudomallei bacteria are: avoid contact with the soil or muddy water, especially if you have open wounds or waterproof dressings; wear waterproof boots when working in places that may have contamination, and wear gloves to protect your hands when working directly with the soil.