CDC confirms fatal case of melioidosis in Georgia, links it to previous US cases
The CDC on Monday confirmed a fatal case of melioidosis in Georgia and linked it to three other cases of melioidosis in the United States, including one that was also fatal.
The cases have occurred in both adults and children, with two of the patients having no known risk factors for the disease. The three previous cases were reported in Kansas, Minnesota and Texas.
Melioidosis is caused by the gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei and can be difficult to diagnose because it is often mistaken for tuberculosis, according to the CDC. It is predominantly found in tropical climates.
Whole-genome sequencing indicates that the four U.S. cases came from a common source, the CDC said. Although none of the patients have travelled internationally, all of the cases appear to be closely related to strains found in South Asia, it said.
The CDC said it has collected and tested more than 100 of samples of products, soil and water from each of the patients’ home and that no sample has tested positive for B. pseudomallei. In a statement, the CDC said it suspects that the most likely source of the infections is an imported product, such as a food or drink, or a personal care item.
B. pseudomallei “normally lives in moist soil and water. However, in rare cases, it has also been found to contaminate wet or moist products in the areas where the bacteria are common,” the CDC said.
The CDC requested that clinicians consider melioidosis for any acute bacterial infections that do not respond to normal antibiotics, of whether if the patient has traveled outside of the U.S.
Additionally, it urged clinicians not to rule out melioidosis as a possible diagnosis when treating children or people who were previously healthy and without known risk factors.
Risk factors include diabetes, liver or kidney disease, chronic lung disease, cancer, or any other condition that may compromise the immune system.
Most children who are diagnosed with melioidosis do not have risk factors, according to the CDC.
CDC. Melioidosis. https://www.cdc.gov/melioidosis/index.html. Accessed Aug. 9, 2021.