EMERGING PATHOGEN BURKHOLDERIA PSEUDOMALLEI: WHAT DO WE KNOW
Melioidosis, also called Whitmore's disease, is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. It is reported from tropical countries, especially in Southeast Asia and northern Australia where it is widespread. The bacterium is found mainly in water and soil. Humans and animals acquire the infection by inhalation, ingestion and contact with surface water and contaminated soil, especially through skin abrasions. Meliodiosis has protean clinical manifestations from acute febrile illness, lacalised acute or chronic suppurative infections to fatal septicaemia. However, it is important to note that melioidosis has a wide range of signs and symptoms that can be mistaken for other diseases such as tuberculosis or more common forms of pneumonia. Meliodiosis which was once considered exotic in our country has been reported frequently from many areas especially from coastal areas. In some cases it is missed due to ignorance of the bacteria among microbiologists and treating physicians. Creating awareness about the disease is the need of the hour. This is very important due to the fact that, following diagnosis of melioidosis, appropriate antimicrobial treatment should be commenced to prevent mortality and recurrence.