CDC warns of deadly dangers of a rare bacterial disease

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday issued an alert about a rare but serious disease called melioidosis, which has been discovered in the Mississippi Gulf Coast region.

According to the agency, melioidosis can develop when a person comes into contact with a bacterium known as B.pseudomallei. The bacteria were identified in soil and water samples in Mississippi after two unrelated people contracted the disease.

The two people were contracted with the bacteria years apart – in 2020 and 2022 – both in the US Gulf Coast region

The CDC responded to the cases by testing household products, soil and water in and around patients’ homes to look for the bacteria, which a 2022 test identified in the soil and puddle water. The agency understands the bacteria had been present in the area since at least 2020 and likely caused both people’s infections.

Melioidosis can be caused by direct contact with the bacteria and can cause symptoms like fever, joint pain, and headaches, as well as health problems like pneumonia, abscess formation, or blood infections.

Melioidosis is rare, with only an average of 12 cases per year in the US, mostly from people who have traveled from the country to places where the bacterium is endemic. In other cases, melioidosis has been linked to contaminated commercial products, as was the case in 2021 when four people in four states were infected by contaminated aromatherapy spray sold at Walmart.

Globally, melioidosis has a 10% to 50% mortality rate, the CDC said. The rare disease is traditionally found in tropical and subtropical regions such as South and Southeast Asia, northern Australia, and parts of Central and South America and Puerto Rico.

The CDC warns health care providers to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of melioidosis as it expects more cases to develop in the US, but said it “believes the risk of melioidosis to the general population remains very low.” “.

However, people who live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast or who have health conditions such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, or excessive alcohol consumption are at greater risk.

If you are at risk of developing melioidosis, the CDC recommends avoiding contact with soil or muddy water and wearing waterproof boots when gardening and gloves when working in the ground.

Treatment for melioidosis includes intravenous antimicrobial therapy for at least two weeks, followed by oral antimicrobial therapy taken for three to six weeks, according to the CDC on its website.


Photo: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay CDC warns of deadly dangers of a rare bacterial disease

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