Burkholderia mallei and B. pseudomallei are highly pathogenic microorganisms for both humans and animals. Moreover, they are regarded as potential agents of bioterrorism. Thus, rapid and unequivocal detection and identification of these dangerous pathogens is critical. In the present study, we describe the use of an optimized protocol for the early diagnosis of experimental glanders and melioidosis and for the rapid differentiation and typing of Burkholderia strains. This experience with PCR-based identification methods indicates that single PCR targets (23S and 16S rRNA genes, 16S-23S intergenic region, fliC and type III secretion gene cluster) should be used with caution for identification of B. mallei and B. pseudomallei, and need to be used alongside molecular methods such as gene sequencing. Several molecular typing procedures have been used to identify genetically related B. pseudomallei and B. mallei isolates, including ribotyping, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and multilocus sequence typing. However, these methods are time consuming and technically challenging for many laboratories. RAPD, variable amplicon typing scheme, Rep-PCR, BOX-PCR and multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis have been recommended by us for the rapid differentiation of B. mallei and B. pseudomallei strains.