A bacterium that causes a serious epidemic found in the United States

A bacterium that causes a serious epidemic found in the United States

This bacteria can cause pneumonia, abscess formation or infection.

U.S. health officials announced Wednesday that soil and water samples taken in Mississippi contain bacteria that cause a rare but serious disease called melioidosis. Authorities have warned doctors in the country to be vigilant in case of possible symptoms of the disease in patients.

In the southern United States, two individuals living in the Gulf of Mexico region contracted the disease separately in 2020 and 2022, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to collect these secretions in and around their homes. Three samples, soil and ponds, tested positive for the bacterium (Burkholderia pseudomallei).

Avoid muddy water

After all, the CDC considers the risk to the general population to be “very low.” They are now investigating to determine how prevalent the bacteria is in the environment.

Symptoms of melioidosis can range from fever, joint pain, and headache. This can lead to pneumonia, abscess formation or infection. Worldwide, melioidosis is fatal in 10–50% of cases.

More vulnerable people living in Mississippi are recommended to avoid contact with muddy water, protect wounds, and wear waterproof boots and gloves while gardening.

About 12 cases of melioidosis are diagnosed each year in the United States, mostly in people who have traveled to countries where the bacterium is present, especially in tropical areas. Other cases have also occurred due to contamination of products from these countries.

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