Bacteria that causes rare tropical disease found on Gulf Coast

CDC finds melioidosis in Mississippi soil samples, linked to two human cases

This photo provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention depicts a petri plate containing multiple colonies of Gram-negative Burkholderia pseudomallei bacteria. The bacteria can cause melioidosis, a rare and sometimes deadly disease long thought to be confined to tropical climates. The bacteria been found in soil and water in the continental United States, U.S. health officials said Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Dr. Todd Parker, Audra Marsh/CDC via AP) APAP

A germ that causes a rare and possible fatal disease has been found along the Gulf Coast, health officials said.

The bacteria were found in the soil and water of property of a Mississippi man who had come down with the disease, melioidosis. Officials told the AP they weren’t sure how long it had been in the soil but it is likely occurring in other areas of the Gulf Coast.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a notice last week to alert physicians to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of melioidosis. The illness includes a wide range of symptoms, including fever, joint pain and headaches. It’s treatable with antibiotics if caught early but, if not, can lead to pneumonia, blood infections, abscesses, and death.

It’s generally contracted through direct contact, especially through a cut on the hand or foot, with soil or water contaminated with B. pseudomallei. Worldwide, melioidosis is fatal in 10 – 50% of those infected.

About 12 cases are reported annually in the U.S., most among people who travel internationally. Two domestic cases have been reported in Mississippi in the past two years, with both patients living about 10 miles from each other. Both men recovered.

How to protect yourself

Individuals living in the Gulf Coast of Mississippi who have health conditions that may put them at higher risk—such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, or excessive alcohol use— should take precautions to protect themselves:

  • Avoid contact with soil or muddy water, particularly after heavy rains, and protect open wounds with waterproof dressings.
  • Wear waterproof boots when gardening, doing yard work, or doing agricultural work, which can prevent infection through the feet and lower legs—particularly after flooding or storms.
  • Wear gloves to protect the hands when working directly with soil.

Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission.

Read More

Affiliate disclosure: The links contained in this product review may result in a small commission if you opt to purchase the product recommended at no additional cost to you. This goes towards supporting our research and editorial team and please know we only recommend high quality products.

Disclaimer: Please understand that any advice or guidelines revealed here are not even remotely a substitute for sound medical advice from a licensed healthcare provider. Make sure to consult with a professional physician before making any purchasing decision if you use medications or have concerns following the review details shared above. Individual results may vary as the statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.