We investigated the population structure of Staphylococcus aureus clonal complex CC121 by mutation discovery at 115 genetic housekeeping loci from each of 154 isolates, sampled on five continents between 1953 and 2009. In addition, we pyro-sequenced the genomes from ten representative isolates. The genome-wide SNPs that were ascertained revealed the evolutionary history of CC121, indicating at least six major clades (A to F) within the clonal complex and dating its most recent common ancestor to the pre-antibiotic era. The toxin gene complement of CC121 isolates was correlated with their SNP-based phylogeny. Moreover, we found a highly significant association of clinical phenotypes with phylogenetic affiliations, which is unusual for S. aureus. All isolates evidently sampled from superficial infections (including staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome, bullous impetigo, exfoliative dermatitis, conjunctivitis) clustered in clade F, which included the European epidemic fusidic-acid resistant impetigo clone (EEFIC). In comparison, isolates from deep-seated infections (abscess, furuncle, pyomyositis, necrotizing pneumonia) were disseminated in several clades, but not in clade F. Our results demonstrate that phylogenetic lineages with distinct clinical properties exist within an S. aureus clonal complex, and that SNPs serve as powerful discriminatory markers, able to identify these lineages. All CC121 genomes harboured a 41-kilobase prophage that was dissimilar to S. aureus phages sequenced previously. Community-associated MRSA and MSSA from Cambodia were extremely closely related, suggesting this MRSA arose in the region.
Melioidosis is a serious infectious disease caused by the Category B select agent and environmental saprophyte, Burkholderia pseudomallei. Most cases of naturally acquired infection are assumed to result from skin inoculation after exposure to soil or water. The aim of this study was to provide evidence for inoculation, inhalation and ingestion as routes of infection, and develop preventive guidelines based on this evidence.
A prospective hospital-based 1∶2 matched case-control study was conducted in Northeast Thailand. Cases were patients with culture-confirmed melioidosis, and controls were patients admitted with non-infectious conditions during the same period, matched for gender, age, and diabetes mellitus. Activities of daily living were recorded for the 30-day period before onset of symptoms, and home visits were performed to obtain drinking water and culture this for B. pseudomallei. Multivariable conditional logistic regression analysis based on 286 cases and 512 controls showed that activities associated with a risk of melioidosis included working in a rice field (conditional odds ratio [cOR] = 2.1; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.4–3.3), other activities associated with exposure to soil or water (cOR = 1.4; 95%CI 0.8–2.6), an open wound (cOR = 2.0; 95%CI 1.2–3.3), eating food contaminated with soil or dust (cOR = 1.5; 95%CI 1.0–2.2), drinking untreated water (cOR = 1.7; 95%CI 1.1–2.6), outdoor exposure to rain (cOR = 2.1; 95%CI 1.4–3.2), water inhalation (cOR = 2.4; 95%CI 1.5–3.9), current smoking (cOR = 1.5; 95%CI 1.0–2.3) and steroid intake (cOR = 3.1; 95%CI 1.4–6.9). B. pseudomallei was detected in water source(s) consumed by 7% of cases and 3% of controls (cOR = 2.2; 95%CI 0.8–5.8).
We used these findings to develop the first evidence-based guidelines for the prevention of melioidosis. These are suitable for people in melioidosis-endemic areas, travelers and military personnel. Public health campaigns based on our recommendations are under development in Thailand.
Melioidosis is a serious infectious disease caused by the environmental saprophyte, Burkholderia pseudomallei. The infection is potentially preventable, but developing prevention guidelines is hampered by a lack of evidence on which to base them. The purpose of this study was to provide evidence for inoculation, inhalation and ingestion as routes of infection. To achieve this, we undertook a matched case-control study and performed home visits to obtain drinking water and culture this for B. pseudomallei. We found that activities associated with increased risk of developing melioidosis included working in a rice field, other activities associated with exposure to soil or water, an open wound, eating food contaminated with soil or dust, drinking untreated water, outdoor exposure to rain, water inhalation, current smoking and steroid intake. Presence of B. pseudomallei in drinking water source(s) doubled the odds of acquiring melioidosis. This is the first study to show that ingestion is an important route of human B. pseudomallei infection, and that exposure to rain is an independent risk factor for melioidosis. We used this finding to develop the first evidence-based guidelines for the prevention of melioidosis. These are suitable for people in melioidosis-endemic areas, travelers and military personnel.
The causes of suppurative parotitis in Cambodian children are not known. We describe 39 cases at the Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap between January 2007 and July 2011 (0.07/1000 hospital attendances). The median age was 5.7 years with no neonates affected. B. pseudomallei was cultured in 29 (74%) cases. No deaths occurred; one child developed a facial nerve palsy.
bacterial parotitis; children; Asia; Burkholderia; Melioidosis
Melioidosis (Burkholderia pseudomallei infection) is a common cause of community-acquired sepsis in Northeast Thailand and northern Australia. B. pseudomallei is a soil saprophyte endemic to Southeast Asia and northern Australia. The clinical presentation of melioidosis may mimic tuberculosis (both cause chronic suppurative lesions unresponsive to conventional antibiotics and both commonly affect the lungs). The two diseases have overlapping risk profiles (e.g., diabetes, corticosteroid use), and both B. pseudomallei and Mycobacterium tuberculosis are intracellular pathogens. There are however important differences: the majority of melioidosis cases are acute, not chronic, and present with severe sepsis and a mortality rate that approaches 50% despite appropriate antimicrobial therapy. By contrast, tuberculosis is characteristically a chronic illness with mortality <2% with appropriate antimicrobial chemotherapy. We examined the gene expression profiles of total peripheral leukocytes in two cohorts of patients, one with acute melioidosis (30 patients and 30 controls) and another with tuberculosis (20 patients and 24 controls). Interferon-mediated responses dominate the host response to both infections, and both type 1 and type 2 interferon responses are important. An 86-gene signature previously thought to be specific for tuberculosis is also found in melioidosis. We conclude that the host responses to melioidosis and to tuberculosis are similar: both are dominated by interferon-signalling pathways and this similarity means gene expression signatures from whole blood do not distinguish between these two diseases.
National statistics in developing countries are likely to underestimate deaths due to bacterial infections. Here, we calculated mortality associated with community-acquired bacteremia (CAB) in a developing country using routinely available databases.
Information was obtained from the microbiology and hospital database of 10 provincial hospitals in northeast Thailand, and compared with the national death registry from the Ministry of Interior, Thailand for the period between 2004 and 2010. CAB was defined in patients who had pathogenic organisms isolated from blood taken within 2 days of hospital admission without a prior inpatient episode in the preceding 30 days. A total of 15,251 CAB patients identified, of which 5,722 (37.5%) died within 30 days of admission. The incidence rate of CAB between 2004 and 2010 increased from 16.7 to 38.1 per 100,000 people per year, and the mortality rate associated with CAB increased from 6.9 to 13.7 per 100,000 people per year. In 2010, the mortality rate associated with CAB was lower than that from respiratory tract infection, but higher than HIV disease or tuberculosis. The most common causes of CAB were Escherichia coli (23.1%), Burkholderia pseudomallei (19.3%), and Staphylococcus aureus (8.2%). There was an increase in the proportion of Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamases (ESBL) producing E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae over time.
This study has demonstrated that national statistics on causes of death in developing countries could be improved by integrating information from readily available databases. CAB is neglected as an important cause of death, and specific prevention and intervention is urgently required to reduce its incidence and mortality.
Accuracy of rapid diagnostic tests for dengue infection has been repeatedly estimated by comparing those tests with reference assays. We hypothesized that those estimates might be inaccurate if the accuracy of the reference assays is not perfect. Here, we investigated this using statistical modeling.
Data from a cohort study of 549 patients suspected of dengue infection presenting at Colombo North Teaching Hospital, Ragama, Sri Lanka, that described the application of our reference assay (a combination of Dengue IgM antibody capture ELISA and IgG antibody capture ELISA) and of three rapid diagnostic tests (Panbio NS1 antigen, IgM antibody and IgG antibody rapid immunochromatographic cassette tests) were re-evaluated using Bayesian latent class models (LCMs). The estimated sensitivity and specificity of the reference assay were 62.0% and 99.6%, respectively. Prevalence of dengue infection (24.3%), and sensitivities and specificities of the Panbio NS1 (45.9% and 97.9%), IgM (54.5% and 95.5%) and IgG (62.1% and 84.5%) estimated by Bayesian LCMs were significantly different from those estimated by assuming that the reference assay was perfect. Sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV for a combination of NS1, IgM and IgG cassette tests on admission samples were 87.0%, 82.8%, 62.0% and 95.2%, respectively.
Our reference assay is an imperfect gold standard. In our setting, the combination of NS1, IgM and IgG rapid diagnostic tests could be used on admission to rule out dengue infection with a high level of accuracy (NPV 95.2%). Further evaluation of rapid diagnostic tests for dengue infection should include the use of appropriate statistical models.
Pathogenic Leptospira spp., the causative agents of leptospirosis, are slow-growing Gram-negative spirochetes. Isolation of Leptospira from clinical samples and testing of antimicrobial susceptibility are difficult and time-consuming. Here, we describe the development of a new solid medium that facilitates more-rapid growth of Leptospira spp. and the use of this medium to evaluate the Etest's performance in determining antimicrobial MICs to drugs in common use for leptospirosis. The medium was developed by evaluating the effects of numerous factors on the growth rate of Leptospira interrogans strain NR-20157. These included the type of base agar, the concentration of rabbit serum (RS), and the concentration and duration of CO2 incubation during the initial period of culture. The highest growth rate of NR-20157 was achieved using a Noble agar base supplemented with 10% RS (named LVW agar), with an initial incubation at 30°C in 5% CO2 for 2 days prior to continuous culture in air at 30°C. These conditions were used to develop the Etest for three species, L. interrogans (NR-20161), L. kirschnerii (NR-20327), and L. borgpetersenii (NR-20151). The MICs were read on day 7 for all samples. The Etest was then performed on 109 isolates of pathogenic Leptospira spp. The MIC90 values for penicillin G, doxycycline, cefotaxime, ceftriaxone, and chloramphenicol were 0.64 units/ml and 0.19, 0.047, 0.5, and 2 μg/ml, respectively. The use of LVW agar, which enables rapid growth, isolation of single colonies, and simple antimicrobial susceptibility testing for Leptospira spp., provides an opportunity for new areas of fundamental and applied research.
The US Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise convened subject matter experts at the 2010 HHS Burkholderia Workshop to develop consensus recommendations for postexposure prophylaxis against and treatment for Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei infections, which cause melioidosis and glanders, respectively. Drugs recommended by consensus of the participants are ceftazidime or meropenem for initial intensive therapy, and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole or amoxicillin/clavulanic acid for eradication therapy. For postexposure prophylaxis, recommended drugs are trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole or co-amoxiclav. To improve the timely diagnosis of melioidosis and glanders, further development and wide distribution of rapid diagnostic assays were also recommended. Standardized animal models and B. pseudomallei strains are needed for further development of therapeutic options. Training for laboratory technicians and physicians would facilitate better diagnosis and treatment options.
Burkholderia pseudomallei; melioidosis; Burkholderia mallei; glanders; drug therapy; postexposure prophylaxis; ceftazidime; carbapenems; trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole; combination; amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate; clavulanic acid bacteria; antibiotic; antibacterial drugs; antimicrobial drugs; bacteria; Suggested citation for this article: Lipsitz R; Garges S; Aurigemma R; Baccam P; Blaney DD; Cheng AC; et al. Workshop on treatment of and postexposure prophylaxis for Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei infection; 2010. Emerg Infect Dis [Internet]. 2012 Dec [date cited]. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid1812.120638
Melioidosis is a tropical infection caused by the Gram-negative soil saprophyte Burkholderia pseudomallei. Despite broad exposure of northeast Thais, disease develops in only a small proportion of individuals. Although diabetes is a risk factor, the mechanisms of host susceptibility to melioidosis are still poorly understood. We postulated that Toll-like receptors (TLRs) regulate host susceptibility to disease, and that genetic variation in TLRs is associated with melioidosis. We analyzed the frequency of eight previously described TLR pathway polymorphisms in 490 cases compared to 950 non-hospitalized controls or 458 hospitalized controls. Based on these results, we then analyzed the frequency of additional TLR4 or TLR6-1-10 region polymorphisms in cases and controls. We found that the TLR41196C>T variant was associated with protection from melioidosis when compared to non-hospitalized controls. The TLR1742A>G and TLR1−7202A>G variants were associated with melioidosis when compared to hospitalized controls. In further analyses, we found that two additional TLR4 region polymorphisms were associated with disease. In diabetics, three other TLR6-1-10 region polymorphisms were associated with disease when compared to hospitalized controls. We conclude that TLR genetic variants may modulate host susceptibility to melioidosis. Confirmation of these findings and further investigation of the mechanisms is required.
melioidosis; Burkholderia pseudomallei; infection; Toll-like receptor; innate immunity; genetic variation
Retrospective case series from Thailand have reported the presence of intra-abdominal abscesses in around half of patients with melioidosis, a much higher rate than our clinical experience would suggest. We performed a prospective, observational study of 230 adult patients with culture-confirmed melioidosis in which all patients underwent abdominal ultrasound. One or more abscesses were detected in the liver and/or spleen in 77 (33%) cases. These were often multiple (70%, 31/44 in hepatic abscesses and 88%, 50/57 in splenic abscesses) and clinically silent (27% of cases with abscesses presenting with abdominal pain). The mortality rate at 4 weeks post-discharge was lower in patients who were abscess-positive vs abscess-negative (10%, 8/77 vs 20%, 31/153).
Melioidosis; Abscess; Liver; Spleen; Burkholderia pseudomallei; Ultrasound
Burkholderia pseudomallei, a bacterium that causes the disease melioidosis, is intrinsically resistant to many antibiotics. First-line antibiotic therapy for treating melioidosis is usually the synthetic β-lactam, ceftazidime (CAZ), as almost all B. pseudomallei strains are susceptible to this drug. However, acquired CAZ resistance can develop in vivo during treatment with CAZ, which can lead to mortality if therapy is not switched to a different drug in a timely manner. Serial B. pseudomallei isolates obtained from an acute Thai melioidosis patient infected by a CAZ susceptible strain, who ultimately succumbed to infection despite being on CAZ therapy for the duration of their infection, were analyzed. Isolates that developed CAZ resistance due to a proline to serine change at position 167 in the β-lactamase PenA were identified. Importantly, these CAZ resistant isolates remained sensitive to the alternative melioidosis treatments; namely, amoxicillin-clavulanate, imipenem, and meropenem. Lastly, real-time polymerase chain reaction-based assays capable of rapidly identifying CAZ resistance in B. pseudomallei isolates at the position 167 mutation site were developed. The ability to rapidly identify the emergence of CAZ resistant B. pseudomallei populations in melioidosis patients will allow timely alterations in treatment strategies, thereby improving patient outcomes for this serious disease.
Burkholderia pseudomallei; ceftazidime; antibiotic resistance; melioidosis; β-lactamase; penA
The bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei causes melioidosis, a rare but serious illness that can be fatal if untreated or misdiagnosed. Species-specific PCR assays provide a technically simple method for differentiating B. pseudomallei from near-neighbor species. However, substantial genetic diversity and high levels of recombination within this species reduce the likelihood that molecular signatures will differentiate all B. pseudomallei from other Burkholderiaceae. Currently available molecular assays for B. pseudomallei detection lack rigorous validation across large in silico datasets and isolate collections to test for specificity, and none have been subjected to stringent quality control criteria (accuracy, precision, selectivity, limit of quantitation (LoQ), limit of detection (LoD), linearity, ruggedness and robustness) to determine their suitability for environmental, clinical or forensic investigations. In this study, we developed two novel B. pseudomallei specific assays, 122018 and 266152, using a dual-probe approach to differentiate B. pseudomallei from B. thailandensis, B. oklahomensis and B. thailandensis-like species; other species failed to amplify. Species specificity was validated across a large DNA panel (>2,300 samples) comprising Burkholderia spp. and non-Burkholderia bacterial and fungal species of clinical and environmental relevance. Comparison of assay specificity to two previously published B. pseudomallei-specific assays, BurkDiff and TTS1, demonstrated comparable performance of all assays, providing between 99.7 and 100% specificity against our isolate panel. Last, we subjected 122018 and 266152 to rigorous quality control analyses, thus providing quantitative limits of assay performance. Using B. pseudomallei as a model, our study provides a framework for comprehensive quantitative validation of molecular assays and provides additional, highly validated B. pseudomallei assays for the scientific research community.
We hypothesized that the gold standard for diagnosing leptospirosis is imperfect. We used Bayesian latent class models and random-effects meta-analysis to test this hypothesis and to determine the true accuracy of a range of alternative tests for leptospirosis diagnosis.
Background. We observed that some patients with clinical leptospirosis supported by positive results of rapid tests were negative for leptospirosis on the basis of our diagnostic gold standard, which involves isolation of Leptospira species from blood culture and/or a positive result of a microscopic agglutination test (MAT). We hypothesized that our reference standard was imperfect and used statistical modeling to investigate this hypothesis.
Methods. Data for 1652 patients with suspected leptospirosis recruited during three observational studies and one randomized control trial that described the application of culture, MAT, immunofluorescence assay (IFA), lateral flow (LF) and/or PCR targeting the 16S rRNA gene were reevaluated using Bayesian latent class models and random-effects meta-analysis.
Results. The estimated sensitivities of culture alone, MAT alone, and culture plus MAT (for which the result was considered positive if one or both tests had a positive result) were 10.5% (95% credible interval [CrI], 2.7%–27.5%), 49.8% (95% CrI, 37.6%–60.8%), and 55.5% (95% CrI, 42.9%–67.7%), respectively. These low sensitivities were present across all 4 studies. The estimated specificity of MAT alone (and of culture plus MAT) was 98.8% (95% CrI, 92.8%–100.0%). The estimated sensitivities and specificities of PCR (52.7% [95% CrI, 45.2%–60.6%] and 97.2% [95% CrI, 92.0%–99.8%], respectively), lateral flow test (85.6% [95% CrI, 77.5%–93.2%] and 96.2% [95% CrI, 87.7%–99.8%], respectively), and immunofluorescence assay (45.5% [95% CrI, 33.3%–60.9%] and 96.8% [95% CrI, 92.8%–99.8%], respectively) were considerably different from estimates in which culture plus MAT was considered a perfect gold standard test.
Conclusions. Our findings show that culture plus MAT is an imperfect gold standard against which to compare alterative tests for the diagnosis of leptospirosis. Rapid point-of-care tests for this infection would bring an important improvement in patient care, but their future evaluation will require careful consideration of the reference test(s) used and the inclusion of appropriate statistical models.
We used Bayesian latent-class models to generate receiver operating characteristic curves and to revise the cutoff values for an enzyme-linked immosorbent assay that has been developed previously for melioidosis. The new cutoff was unbiased towards misclassification caused by an imperfect gold standard and resulted in an increase in both sensitivity (from 66.4% to 80.2%) and specificity (82.1% and 95.0%).
Background. We aimed to determine the antibody and T cell responses to Burkholderia pseudomallei of humans to select candidate vaccine antigens.
Methods. For antibody profiling, a protein microarray of 154 B. pseudomallei proteins was probed with plasma from 108 healthy individuals and 72 recovered patients. Blood from 20 of the healthy and 30 of the recovered individuals was also obtained for T cell assays.
Results. Twenty-seven proteins distinctively reacted with human plasma following environmental exposure or clinical melioidosis. We compared the responses according to the patient’s history of subsequent relapse, and antibody response to BPSL2765 was higher in plasma from individuals who had only 1 episode of disease than in those with recurrent melioidosis. A comparison of antibody and T cell responses to 5 B. pseudomallei proteins revealed that BimA and flagellin-induced responses were similar but that BPSS0530 could induce T cell responses in healthy controls more than in recovered patients.
Conclusions. By combining large-scale antibody microarrays and assays of T cell–mediated immunity, we identified a panel of novel B. pseudomallei proteins that show distinct patterns of reactivity in different stages of human melioidosis. These proteins may be useful candidates for development of subunit-based vaccines and in monitoring the risks of treatment failure and relapse.
The Leptospira immunoglobulin M enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (IgM ELISA) has been recommended for the rapid diagnosis of leptospirosis in endemic areas. We conducted a retrospective case-control study of 218 patients (109 leptospirosis cases confirmed by Leptospira culture and/or microscopic agglutination test and 109 control patients with acute febrile illness) to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of a commercial IgM ELISA (Panbio) in northeast Thailand. Paired serum samples taken on admission and at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms were tested. Using the cutoff value recommended by the manufacturer (11 Panbio units), sensitivity and specificity of IgM ELISA on paired sera were 90.8% and 55.1%. A receiver operating characteristic curve was used to determine the optimal cutoff value. This was 20 Panbio units, which gave a sensitivity and specificity of 76.1% and 82.6%, respectively, on paired sera. We conclude that using either cutoff value, the accuracy of IgM ELISA is limited in our setting.
The Surviving Sepsis Campaign (SSC) guidelines describe best practice for the management of severe sepsis and septic shock in developed countries, but most deaths from sepsis occur where healthcare is not sufficiently resourced to implement them. Our objective was to define the feasibility and basis for modified guidelines in a resource-restricted setting.
Methods and Findings
We undertook a detailed assessment of sepsis management in a prospective cohort of patients with severe sepsis caused by a single pathogen in a 1,100-bed hospital in lower-middle income Thailand. We compared their management with the SSC guidelines to identify care bundles based on existing capabilities or additional activities that could be undertaken at zero or low cost. We identified 72 patients with severe sepsis or septic shock associated with S. aureus bacteraemia, 38 (53%) of who died within 28 days. One third of patients were treated in intensive care units (ICUs). Numerous interventions described by the SSC guidelines fell within existing capabilities, but their implementation was highly variable. Care available to patients on general wards covered the fundamental principles of sepsis management, including non-invasive patient monitoring, antimicrobial administration and intravenous fluid resuscitation. We described two additive care bundles, one for general wards and the second for ICUs, that if consistently performed would be predicted to improve outcome from severe sepsis.
It is feasible to implement modified sepsis guidelines that are scaled to resource availability, and that could save lives prior to the publication of international guidelines for developing countries.
Detection of environmental Burkholderia pseudomallei indicates a risk for melioidosis and is important for the development of a global risk map. We describe a simple method for detecting B. pseudomallei using direct culture of soil in enrichment broth. This gives a rate of positivity comparable to that obtained with a standard method but is cheaper and labor saving.
We retrospectively estimated the incidence of culture-proven melioidosis in animals in Thailand during 2006–2010. The highest incidence was in goats (1.63/100,000/year), followed by incidence in pigs and cattle. The estimated incidence of melioidosis in humans in a given region paralleled that of melioidosis in goats.
melioidosis; Burkholderia pseudomallei; pseudomallei; incidence; animal; human; bacteria; zoonoses; goat; Thailand
Burkholderia pseudomallei is a Category B select agent and the cause of melioidosis. Research funding for vaccine development has largely considered protection within the biothreat context, but the resulting vaccines could be applicable to populations who are at risk of naturally acquired melioidosis. Here, we discuss target populations for vaccination, consider the cost-benefit of different vaccination strategies and review potential vaccine candidates.
Methods and Findings
Melioidosis is highly endemic in Thailand and northern Australia, where a biodefense vaccine might be adopted for public health purposes. A cost-effectiveness analysis model was developed, which showed that a vaccine could be a cost-effective intervention in Thailand, particularly if used in high-risk populations such as diabetics. Cost-effectiveness was observed in a model in which only partial immunity was assumed. The review systematically summarized all melioidosis vaccine candidates and studies in animal models that had evaluated their protectiveness. Possible candidates included live attenuated, whole cell killed, sub-unit, plasmid DNA and dendritic cell vaccines. Live attenuated vaccines were not considered favorably because of possible reversion to virulence and hypothetical risk of latent infection, while the other candidates need further development and evaluation. Melioidosis is acquired by skin inoculation, inhalation and ingestion, but routes of animal inoculation in most published studies to date do not reflect all of this. We found a lack of studies using diabetic models, which will be central to any evaluation of a melioidosis vaccine for natural infection since diabetes is the most important risk factor.
Vaccines could represent one strand of a public health initiative to reduce the global incidence of melioidosis.
The designation of Burkholderia pseudomallei as a category B select agent has resulted in considerable research funding to develop a protective vaccine. This bacterium also causes a naturally occurring disease (melioidosis), an important cause of death in many countries including Thailand and Australia. In this study, we explored whether a vaccine could be used to provide protection from melioidosis. An economic evaluation based on its use in Thailand indicated that a vaccine could be a cost-effective intervention if used in high-risk populations such as diabetics and those with chronic kidney or lung disease. A literature search of vaccine studies in animal models identified the current candidates, but noted that models failed to take account of the common routes of infection in natural melioidosis and major risk factors for infection, primarily diabetes. This review highlights important areas for future research if biodefence-driven vaccines are to play a role in reducing the global incidence of melioidosis.
Colony morphology variation of Burkholderia pseudomallei is a notable feature of a proportion of primary clinical cultures from patients with melioidosis. Here, we examined the hypothesis that colony morphology switching results in phenotypic changes associated with enhanced survival under adverse conditions. We generated isogenic colony morphology types II and III from B. pseudomallei strain 153 type I, and compared their protein expression profiles using 2D gel electrophoresis. Numerous proteins were differentially expressed, the most prominent of which were flagellin, arginine deiminase (AD) and carbamate kinase (CK), which were over-expressed in isogenic types II and III compared with parental type I. AD and CK (encoded by arcA and arcC) are components of the arginine deiminase system (ADS) which facilitates acid tolerance. Reverse transcriptase PCR of arcA and arcC mRNA expression confirmed the proteomic results. Transcripts of parental type I strain 153 arcA and arcC were increased in the presence of arginine, in a low oxygen concentration and in acid. Comparison of wild type with arcA and arcC defective mutants demonstrated that the B. pseudomallei ADS was associated with survival in acid, but did not appear to play a role in intracellular survival or replication within the mouse macrophage cell line J774A.1. These data provide novel insights into proteomic alterations that occur during the complex process of morphotype switching, and lend support to the idea that this is associated with a fitness advantage in vivo.
► B. pseudomallei undergoes morphotypic switching in response to stress. ► Numerous proteins were differentially expressed by isogenic morphotypes. ► Types II and III over-expressed arginine deiminase (ArcA) and carbamate kinase (ArcC). ► Exposure of parental type I to acid led to increased transcription of arcA and arcC. ► arcA and arcC defective mutants had reduced survival in acid.
Melioidosis; Burkholderia pseudomallei; Arginine deiminase system; Proteomic analysis; Colony variation
Pathogenic Leptospira spp. present in the blood of patients with leptospirosis during the first week of symptoms can be detected using culture or PCR. A proportion of patients who are positive by PCR are negative by culture. Leptospira spp. are fastidious bacteria, and we hypothesized that a false-negative culture result may represent infection with a distinct bacterial subset that fail to grow in standard culture medium.
We evaluated our hypothesis during a prospective study of 418 consecutive patients presenting to a hospital in northeast Thailand with an acute febrile illness. Admission blood samples were taken for Leptospira culture and PCR. A single tube nested PCR that amplified a region of the rrs gene was developed and applied, amplicons sequenced and a phylogenetic tree reconstructed.
39/418 (9%) patients were culture-positive for Leptospira spp., and 81/418 (19%) patients were culture-negative but rrs PCR-positive. The species associated with culture-positive leptospirosis (37 L. interrogans and 2 L. borgpetersenii) were comparable to those associated with culture-negative, PCR-positive leptospirosis (76 L. interrogans, 4 L. borgpetersenii, 1 unidentified, possibly new species).
Molecular speciation failed to identify a unique bacterial subset in patients with culture-negative, PCR-positive leptospirosis. The rate of false-negative culture was high, and we speculate that antibiotic pre-treatment is the most likely explanation for this.
Melioidosis is a frequently lethal tropical infection caused by the environmental saprophyte Burkholderia pseudomallei. Although transcutaneous inoculation and inhalation are considered the primary routes of infection, suggestive clinical evidence implicates ingestion as a possible alternative route. We show that in BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice, direct gastric inoculation of high doses of B. pseudomallei causes systemic infection that may be lethal or cause chronic disseminated infection. Mice may shed bacteria in the stool for weeks after infection, and high titers of B. pseudomallei-specific IgG are detectable. This report of enteric murine melioidosis supports further consideration of this route of infection.