Burkholderia pseudomallei Action Plan advice

What it is? Burkholderia pseudomallei is a gram negative, bipolar, aerobic, motile rod-shaped soil dwelling bacterium. It does not form spores and is saprophytic. The bacterium can infect both animals and humans through direct contact via inhalation, ingestion, or open wounds. One of the nasty things about this bacteria is that the infections incubation period can be anywhere from a couple of days to couple of years. This allows people to be infected without realizing it. The bacterium can also manage to survive outside a host organism.

How does this disease affect people?

Burkholderia pseudomallei, does infect humans and can be quite severe. It has been labeled a class B bioterrorism weapon. One of the things that leads to this bacterium being such a danger is the difficulty in diagnosing and identifying it in many parts of the world. The symptoms are so similar to the host of other bacteria and viruses that cause respiratory infections that it can often be misdiagnosed. That’s not even taking into account the fact that the bacteria can infect and present with other symptoms. There are currently no vaccines that protect against infection by B. pseudomallei but research is being conducted into the development of one. Treatment of the infection is intensive as the bacterium is resistant to most antibiotics. One of the most interesting things about this bacterium is that is has two large chromosomes instead of the one that most bacteria possess. This allows it to adapt and survive many things.

The impact so far?

Previous Example: Burkholderia pseudomallei was isolated from three Finnish patients in January 2005. All three cases were in tourists who were visiting Khao Lak on the southwest coast of Thailand when the tsunami struck in December 2004.

The infection is very rare in Europe, and the only case to have been previously reported in Finland was in a man who travelled to Thailand in 2000 [1]. The spectrum of infections caused by B. pseudomallei ranges from mild wound infections to septic disease or pneumonia. In the severe forms of the disease, the mortality is variable, ranging from about 20% to 40%

Prevention and Treatment

The course of treatment for Melioidosis is subject to the severity and type of infection. The most common form of treatment begins with intravenous antimicrobial therapy for 10-14 days, followed directly by 3-6 months of oral antimicrobial therapy. [5] Two of the most common intravenous antimicrobial medications used are ceftazidime administered every 6-8 hours or meropenem administered every 8 hours. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole or doxycycline may both be used for the oral antimicrobial therapy. [5] Alternative treatments are considered in cases of penicillin allergies. Treatment of B. pseudomallei is often dependent on the severity of the infection, as well as, the immunological health of the patient. Patients with diabetes or renal disease are often more susceptible to infection and therefore require a different course of treatment. In terms of respiratory infection, if abscesses develop on the lung after 6 months of positive culture on the lung, a lobectomy is performed to remove the abscess.


Please see lockdown manual of Macquarie University file:///C:/Users/ffarthing/Downloads/emergency_management_plan.pdf

Macquarie University Emergency Management Plan



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