Melioidosis a disease of surprises

by Mike Cadogan
Guest post on Meliodosis from renowned investigative field microbiologist, FACTM clinical educator, expert in linguistics and author of the Migrognome blog ? A/Prof TJJ Inglis, Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA, QEII Medical Centre
Once we had an improved set of laboratory methods, we were in a stronger position to help our neighbours in the region. We joined in a series of field studies in Eastern Malaysia, exploring the upper reaches of the Sibu River in an attempt to map out the distribution of melioidosis. There have been cases of infection in forestry and construction workers quite far up river. However, there have been no cases reported from the remote communities of Barrio and Ba Kelalan further upstream where fragrant rice is grown by traditional methods (Figure 2a). Extensive soil sampling by our team in the latter community failed to recover any B pseudomallei from moist soil at optimal depth in rice paddies (Figure 2b). Further studies are under way into the ecology of Burkholderia species in Eastern Malaysia.