article Elsevier, "Acta Tropica", feb 2000
What is melioidosis?
Melioidosis is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria called
Where does melioidosis occur?
Melioidosis is most frequently reported in Southeast Asia and
Northern Australia. The
bacteria that causes the disease is found in the soil, rice paddies,
and stagnant waters of the area. People get the disease by inhaling
dust contaminated by the bacteria and when
the contaminated soil comes in contact with abraded (scaped) area of
How does melioidosis affect a patient?
Melioidosis most commonly involves the lungs where the infection can
form a cavity of pus (abscess). It can spread from the skin through
the blood to affect the heart, brain, liver, kidneys, joints, and
eyes. Patients can have associated headaches, fever, chills, cough,
chest pain, and/or loss of appetite.
How is melioidosis diagnosed?
Melioidosis is diagnosed with a microscopic evaluation of a sputum
sample in the laboratory. A blood test is useful to detect early
acute cases of melioidosis, but it can not exclude the illness if it
How is melioidosis treated?
The treatment of melioidosis involves antibiotics and depends on the
location of the disease. For patients with more mild illness,
antibiotics such as chloramphenicol, doxycycline, sulfisoxazole, or
trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole are considered. The conventional
treatment regimen for patients who are more severely ill is a
combination of chloramphenicol, doxycycline, and cotrimoxazole. Even
more severely ill patients (such as those with active blood
infection) may require intravenous antibiotics, including
chloramphenicol, and others. If sputum cultures remain positive for
6 months, surgical removal of the lung abscess with lobectomy is
considered. Antibiotic treatments may be necessary from 3 to 12