What is the pathogenesis of P pseudomallei infection?

Updated: Dec 17, 2018
  • Author: Selina SP Chen, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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P pseudomallei (now known as Burkholderia pseudomallei) causes melioidosis (from the Greek, "resemblance to distemper of asses"). Melioidosis, also called Whitmore disease, clinically and pathologically resembles glanders but has an entirely different epidemiologic profile from B mallei. It occurs in many animals (eg, sheep, goats, horses, swine, cattle, dogs, cats). Transmission is believed to occur through direct contact, although inhalation reportedly is a possible route of acquisition. Since the first description of the disease from North Queensland, Australia, in 1962, melioidosis has spread to Southeast Asia.

B pseudomallei is found in contaminated water and soil. The pathogen spreads to humans and animals through direct contact with a contaminated source. In otherwise healthy hosts, disease manifestations range from acute to chronic local suppurative infections to septicemia with multiple abscesses in all organs of the body.

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