Gulf Coast tests confirm deadly tropical soil bacterium now endemic in US

Burkholderia pseudomallei It is cultured on sheep blood agar for 24 hours. B. pseudomalleiGram-negative aerobic bacteria and the causative agent of melioidosis. “/>

Zoom in / Burkholderia pseudomallei cultured on sheep blood agar for 24 hours. B. pseudomallei It is a gram-negative aerobic bacterium and the causative agent of melioidosis.

For years, US health officials have noted mysterious, mysterious cases of a foreign bacterial infection called melioidosis. It was often thought that the difficult, difficult-to-treat, and fatal infection was confined to travelers or those who came into contact with contaminated diagnoses of imported goods or animals. However, sometimes an American gets unexplained illness – a recent trip, no clear connections.

Now health officials provide a clear explanation. And it confirms an ominous, long-held suspicion: There is no such thing as a deadly bacteria. Rather, it is a permanent US resident on American soil.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials on Wednesday tested positive for the bacteria in three samples taken from soil and pond water along the Gulf Coast south of Mississippi. The sampling was part of an investigation into two mysterious incidents in the area in 2020 and 2022. The positive test results mark the first time researchers have caught the deadly microbe in US environmental samples, but they had been looking for it. a year.

It’s not known how long the bacteria has lived in the United States or how widespread it is. But the CDC models the environmental conditions in the Gulf Coast states as conducive to the bacteria’s growth. The agency called for a more extensive study of environmental samples.

While explaining the puzzling cases that have been found, the most important thing right now is for health workers to say the word. This is not a traveller’s disease. In a health advisory released yesterday, the CDC emphasized that its warning “serves to alert clinicians and public health officials nationwide to consider melioidosis in patients whose clinical presentation is consistent with signs and symptoms of the disease, regardless of international travel history.” -endemic areas, as melioidosis is now considered locally endemic in the Gulf Coast region of Mississippi.

new resident

Bacteria in hands Burkholderia pseudomallei, inhabits the soil and water of tropical and subtropical regions and causes rare but dangerous sporadic infections. The highest endemic areas are in Southeast Asia and northern Australia, but it has also occurred in Southwest Asia, Africa, the Pacific, and the Americas in Peru, Brazil, Haiti, and some areas of the United States, including Puerto Rico. Rich.

B. pseudomallei Melioidosis can be transmitted through direct contact with contaminated soil and water. People can become infected by ingesting contaminated soil, water or food; if they breathe in contaminated dust or water droplets or if contaminated soil or water comes in contact with the skin. People who are at greater risk of melioidosis include people with diabetes, heavy alcohol consumption, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease, and conditions that weaken the immune system. The slightly better news is that the infection rarely spreads from person to person.

The subsequent symptoms of melioidosis depend on the route B. pseudomallei takes on the body. If it enters through a skin break, it can cause pain, swelling, and abscesses. If it enters the bloodstream, it can cause joint pain, abdominal discomfort, and disorientation. If it enters the lungs, it causes coughing and chest pain. And if it becomes systemic, it can cause weight loss, brain infection and seizures. In general, symptoms can appear vague and can easily be mistaken for other conditions. It has been described as a “great imitator” because of how quickly and easily it is mistaken for other serious infections such as tuberculosis.

Its imprecise nature contributes to its timing. B. pseudomallei Natural resistance to commonly used antibiotics. Any delay in making an accurate diagnosis can cause the bacteria to become more severe. According to the CDC, melioidosis is fatal in 90 percent of people who are not properly treated. When people are treated with the right antibiotics, the death rate drops below 40 percent. And if patients have access to intensive therapy and the right drugs, the death rate can be reduced to 20 percent.

All these reasons are considered by the US government B. pseudomallei threat of bioterrorism, lists it as a Tier 1 agent of choice along with anthrax bacteria (bacillus cereus biovar anthracis) and Ebola virus.

US cases

According to the CDC, there are an average of 12 cases of melioidosis per year in the United States, most of which are travel-related. But over the years there have been notable and puzzling features.

Last year, melioidosis made headlines when four people in four states contracted the same strain. B. pseudomallei. The first unexplained fatal cases occurred in an adult in Kansas in March. Then another adult survived in Minnesota, and a 4-year-old boy suffered brain damage in Texas. Most recently, a child in Georgia was identified through a post-mortem examination.

In October, investigators announced a break in the mysterious outbreak: the strain B. pseudomallei The infection was traced to an aromatherapy room spray made in India that contained “precious stones.” Specifically, it’s the Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones sold at Walmart.

Although investigators initially suspected an imported product, the cluster pointed to other puzzling cases in the United States. B. pseudomallei He was hiding in the US. For example, in 2015, CDC researchers studied 34 human melioidosis cases in the United States between 2008 and 2013, and found that the number increased each year during that period. That’s the conclusion of a study published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report B. pseudomallei It may be an infectious disease that originated in the United States.

“Notably, three cases of melioidosis occurred in US residents with no history of travel outside the United States or to areas where melioidosis is endemic, suggesting unrecognized sources of exposure in the United States,” the researchers wrote. “So knowing that this infection can be seen in people who don’t have a clear history B. pseudomallei is endemically important.”

The warning resurfaced in a case report published in 2020, also written by CDC researchers and published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. The report documents a 2018 case of mysterious melioidosis in a 63-year-old man from Atascosa County, Texas, located on the Gulf Coast. This man had no travel history, except that he had visited Mexico 30 years prior to his illness.

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