Melioidosis follows exposure to, and infection with, the soil and water bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. Hot spots for infection are northeast Thailand and northern Australia, but melioidosis is endemic in most countries of Southeast Asia and South Asia and is increasingly being documented from countries in Africa and Central and South America. Local resources are available in many endemic areas, such as:
Infection can occur in travellers from those locations, and has also been reported in non-endemic countries including France, the US, Saudi Arabia, and China. The vast majority of cases of melioidosis are from recent infection, but latency and subsequent activation years after infection is well recognised although rare.
Glanders is a disease of horses and other equines caused by a closely related bacterium, Burkholderia mallei, that can sometimes be transmitted to humans, although human glanders is extremely rare nowadays.
Both conditions have a similar clinical presentation and have been considered together throughout this topic.
BMJ Best Practice is an evidence-based point of care tool for healthcare practitioners.
To continue reading and access all of BMJ Best Practice's pages you'll need to log in or start a free trial.
You can access through your institution if your hospital, university, trust or other institution provides access to BMJ Best Practice through either OpenAthens or Shibboleth.
Use of this content is subject to our disclaimer