Melioidosis: B. pseudomallei which causes the disease is endemic to parts of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, according to the CDC

Burkholderia pseudomallei was found in the Gulf Coast region of Mississippi, the first detection of the bacterium in the environment in the United States.

“It is not known how long the bacterium has been in the environment before 2020 or how widespread the bacterium is in the continental United States; modeling suggests that the environmental conditions found in the coastal states of Gulf are conducive to the growth of B. pseudomallei,” the CDC said in a Health Alert Network advisory.
CDC updates health warning for aromatherapy spray

The agency has asked health care providers across the country to consider melioidosis as a possible diagnosis when people have symptoms, “because melioidosis is now considered locally endemic in areas of the North Coast region. Gulf of Mississippi.

Symptoms of melioidosis depend on where a person is infected, but may include fever, pain or swelling, ulcers, cough, chest pain, difficulty breathing, weight loss, muscle pain or joints, disorientation, headaches and seizures. These can progress to conditions such as pneumonia, abscesses and blood infections. It is fatal in 10 to 50% of cases.

B. pseudomallei is typically found in tropical regions, and cases in the United States are usually travel-related. The CDC says an average of 12 cases are reported to the agency each year.

The latest discovery came after two people who lived near each other in southern Mississippi but had no recent international travel history were diagnosed with the same bacterial strain in July 2020 and May 2022, the CDC said, prompting sampling of their household products. , their properties and surrounding areas. The patients were hospitalized but recovered after taking antibiotics.

The risk to the general population in the United States “continues to be very low,” the agency said in a news release, and there are few documented cases of person-to-person transmission.

People who live in or visit the Mississippi Coast, especially those with certain chronic illnesses, are advised to protect open wounds, cuts, or burns with waterproof bandages; avoid contact with the ground or muddy water; and do not drink water from shallow wells, lakes, rivers, ponds and streams. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of melioidosis.

Melioidosis was linked to contaminated aromatherapy sprays late last year. One person died of a B. pseudomallei infection in October which was attributed to the spraying.

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