CDC statement on the rare disease melioidosis discovered in Georgia and three other locations

Andrew Alvarez

ATLANTA, GA - A new fatal case of the rare disease melioidosis has been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC in Georgia that is linked to three previous cases reported in different states.

Both adults and children have been involved in the cases. The two patients with no known risk factors for melioidosis died.

Researchers at the CDC say all four strains of bacteria that sickened the patients - one each from Georgia, Kansas, Texas, and Minnesota - are highly similar, suggesting they have a common source. It appears that the strains are closely related to those found in Asia, specifically South Asia, despite no patients having traveled abroad.

A total of more than 100 samples were collected from soil, water, and products near the homes of patients. Burkholderia pseudomallei, which causes melioidosis, has not yet been detected in any samples. According to the CDC, the most likely causes of the outbreak are imported products (such as food or drink, personal care or cleaning products, or medicines) or ingredients in these products.

Water and soil are ideal environments for bacteria to thrive. However, occasionally, wet or moist products may also be contaminated with the microbes in areas where they are dominant.

Any acute bacterial infection that does not respond to normal antibiotics should be investigated for melioidosis regardless of travel history. Melioidosis should also not be excluded as a possible diagnosis in children or individuals without known risk factors for melioidosis.

The risk of melioidosis increases if there are health conditions underlying it. Chronic lung disease, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, cancer, and other conditions which weaken the immune system are significant risk factors. Generally, children with melioidosis do not have risk factors.

If you experience cough, chest pain, a high fever, headache, or unexplained weight loss, you should consult your doctor.

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