For the first time, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, for its acronym in English) have identified through domestic environmental samples the bacteria that cause melioidosisa rare and serious disease.
As explained by the US agency this week, the bacterium, known as Burkholderia pseudomalleiwas identified through soil and water sampling in the region of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
This investigation has been carried out after two unrelated people who lived very close geographically in the region contracted this disease in the last two years. Three of the samples taken from soil and puddle water in 2022 were positive, indicating that bacteria from the environment were the likely source of infection for both individuals.
Possibility of being endemic
Although the researchers are still unclear on how long this bacterium has been in the environment -nor in which other places in the country could it be found-, the results suggest that the conditions found in the states where the bacteria are conducive to their growth, so could become endemic.
After spreading the news, from the CDC is alerting American doctors about this discovery through a “national health advisory“, reminding them to be aware of the signs and symptoms of melioidosis and to consider it in patients who show signs of the disease.
Symptoms of melioidosis
The symptoms of this affectation depend a lot on the type of infection and the medical characteristics of the patient. However, among the most outstanding consequences of human melioidosis are the fever, joint pain and headaches.
As the CDC itself explains through the disseminated alert, patients can also suffer from bloodstream effects, pneumonia or abscess formation.
It should be noted that, according to data provided by the CDC, most healthy people who have direct contact with the bacteria do not develop the disease. Of course, among those who do suffer from it, the health authorities report that the fork of the overall mortality rate ranges from 10% to 50%.
It is a rare disease, which affects an average of only 12 people per year in the United Statesso that its incidence is low. The US agency indicates that a large part of those affected either had traveled to countries where the bacteria is endemic or had consumed products from there.
The possibility of it being transmitted from one person to another is very remote, just as it is not believed that insects can be transmitters.