The CDC has warned doctors that four cases of the rare melioidosis infection have been confirmed in the U.S. The infection is also known as Whitmore’s disease, and the infections were detected in Kansas, Georgia, Minnesota and Texas. These incidents remind us that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is not the only one we should be worried about.
What is Whitmore’s disease?
Burkholderia pseudomallei is the bacteria responsible for causing the melioidosis infectious disease. It is a bacteria predominantly found in tropical climates, in countries from Southeast Asia and northern Australia. The CDC mentions that the bacteria can be found in contaminated water, and both animals and humans can get infected from direct contact. If a human inhales the contaminated water droplets or ingests food from contaminated soil, he would get the disease. Several animals can get melioidosis, including domestic animals such as sheep, goats, cats, dogs, horses and more.
The CDC is tracking down the contaminated source
Two of the infected people do not have other severe health conditions. Treating melioidosis can be tricky because sometimes the symptoms can be confused with tuberculosis, bronchitis or pneumonia. A recent article mentions that the CD is trying to track down the contamination source. According to the genome sequence, the four people might have been contaminated from the same source, although from different states.
The CDC has taken samples from their houses, from the soil, water and other products they got in contact with. It is quite rare that one person infects another, but in case of infection from a contaminated source, a person has to undergo lengthy treatment. Health providers might recommend between two to eight weeks of antimicrobial therapy, followed by a couple of months, up to half a year of oral antimicrobial therapy.