Resist or Perish

“Resist or Perish” – says the US CDC with regards to the discovery of B. pseudomallei


As per public health officials, a specific type of bacteria has been detected in the US soil as well as water, which could cause melioidosis. It could have symptoms analogous to pneumonia. The US CDC has confirmed that half of those contracting melioidosis succumb to it.

The bacteria were found in water and soil in the tropical climates like Northern Australia and Southeast Asia. However, it has happened for the first time that it has been spotted in water and soil samples in Gulf Coast region (of Mississippi). The bacterium is called “Burkholderia pseudomallei”. ON these grounds, the CDC has sent health alert to the healthcare personnel.

The Two Cases

The health officials’ discovery could be attributed to linking the two cases related to melioidosis caused through B. pseudomallei. The patients herein did develop sepsis and had to be hospitalized, but could be treated well with antibiotics.

As per Dr. Chris Woods, a professor of medicine at the Duke Global Health Institute, it takes a noteworthy exposure to get melioidosis. One may also get melioidosis through cut in the skin or ingestion.

At the same time, CDC has asserted that people suffering from chronic ailments like lung diseases, kidney disorders, or diabetes are at a greater risk of getting sick.

According to Dr. Jill Weatherhead (an assistant professor of tropical medicine and infectious diseases at the Baylor College of Medicine), subtropical climate in the US, that too, along Gulf Coast (where it’s humid and warm), is well-suited for proliferation of B. pseudomallei.

Greater Concern

Deeper concern on this count is that B. pseudomallei, after getting established in soil, is tad difficult to remove. As such, the onus of monitoring the situation and exercising a control over it lays with the public health officials.

Bacterial diseases have always been a hard nut to crack. We have scores of bacterial ailments like pneumonia, diphtheria, tuberculosis, and likewise, which, if not treated on time, would take the dangerous route in the near future. The newly discovered bacteria is no less. Though the US is subject to limited number of infections as of now, the ailment taking the course of pandemic won’t be far if precautions in the first place and prevention in the second place are not in place.

The scientists are also sceptical about going for better understanding of interventions against melioidosis as the reports are scary over here.

Torres is stating that isolates that are being examined right now have come from Australia or Thailand, and some of them are even from LATAM.

On the other hand, the scientists as well as healthcare professionals are not able to figure out as to how did the bacteria get propagated in the US all of a sudden. In other words, the climate along the West Coast was feasible for these many years, but the bacteria were discovered only recently. The two people who were treated hadn’t travelled outside the US. This has put them in a greater fix.

The world out there is waiting for concreteness on this part.


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