Clinical, environmental, and serologic surveillance studies of melioidosis in Gabon, 2012-2013.Emerg Infect Dis. 2015 Jan; 21(1):40-7.EI
Burkholderia pseudomallei, an environmental gram-negative bacillus, is the causative agent of melioidosis and a bio-threat agent. Reports of B. pseudomallei isolation from soil and animals in East and West Africa suggest that melioidosis might be more widely distributed than previously thought. Because it has been found in equatorial areas with tropical climates, we hypothesized that B. pseudomallei could exist in Gabon. During 2012-2013, we conducted a seroprevalance study in which we set up microbiology facilities at a large clinical referral center and prospectively screened all febrile patients by conducting blood cultures and testing for B. pseudomallei and related species; we also determined whether B. pseudomallei could be isolated from soil. We discovered a novel B. pseudomallei sequence type that caused lethal septic shock and identified B. pseudomallei and B. thailandensis in the environment. Our data suggest that melioidosis is emerging in Central Africa but is unrecognized because of the lack of diagnostic microbiology facilities.