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1.  Melioidosis Diagnostic Workshop, 20131 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2015;21(2):e141045.
Melioidosis is a severe disease that can be difficult to diagnose because of its diverse clinical manifestations and a lack of adequate diagnostic capabilities for suspected cases. There is broad interest in improving detection and diagnosis of this disease not only in melioidosis-endemic regions but also outside these regions because melioidosis may be underreported and poses a potential bioterrorism challenge for public health authorities. Therefore, a workshop of academic, government, and private sector personnel from around the world was convened to discuss the current state of melioidosis diagnostics, diagnostic needs, and future directions.
doi:10.3201/eid2102.141045
PMCID: PMC4313648  PMID: 25626057
melioidosis; Burkholderia pseudomallei; diagnosis; bacteria
2.  Clinical, Environmental, and Serologic Surveillance Studies of Melioidosis in Gabon, 2012–2013 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2015;21(1):40-47.
Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. thailandensis are in the soil; a novel B. pseudomallei sequence type causes lethal septic shock.
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.
doi:10.3201/eid2101.140762
PMCID: PMC4285261  PMID: 25530077
Burkholderia pseudomallei; Burkholderia thailandensis; melioidosis; epidemiology; seroprevalance; Africa; Gabon; soil; sepsis; bacteria
3.  Failure of Burkholderia pseudomallei to Grow in an Automated Blood Culture System 
We compared the organisms isolated from 30,210 pairs of blood culture bottles by using BacT/Alert system and the conventional system. Overall, 2,575 (8.5%) specimens were culture positive for pathogenic organisms. The sensitivity for detection of pathogenic organisms with the BACT/Alert system (85.6%, 2,203 of 2,575) was significantly higher than that with the conventional method (74.1%, 1,908 of 2,575; P < 0.0001). However, Burkholderia pseudomallei was isolated less often with the BacT/ALERT system (73.5%, 328 of 446) than with the conventional system (90.3%, 403 of 446; P < 0.0001). This finding suggests that use of the conventional culture method in conjunction with the BacT/Alert system may improve the isolation rate for B. pseudomallei in melioidosis-endemic areas.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.14-0018
PMCID: PMC4257642  PMID: 25311697
4.  Maintenance of Leptospira Species in Leptospira Vanaporn Wuthiekanun Agar 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(12):4350-4352.
The maintenance of Leptospira species in liquid or semisolid medium is time-consuming and at risk of contamination due to the needs of routine subculture and dark field microscopy. Using Leptospira Vanaporn Wuthiekanun (LVW) agar, we maintained 100 pathogenic Leptospira isolates for 12 months without the need for subculture and confirmed the viability of all isolates by the naked eye.
doi:10.1128/JCM.02273-14
PMCID: PMC4313312  PMID: 25253789
5.  Burkholderia pseudomallei in Water Supplies, Southern Thailand 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(11):1947-1949.
doi:10.3201/eid2011.140832
PMCID: PMC4215545  PMID: 25340393
melioidosis; B. pseudomallei; water; Phangan; Thailand; bacteria; Koh Phangan
6.  NLRC4 and TLR5 Each Contribute to Host Defense in Respiratory Melioidosis 
Burkholderia pseudomallei causes the tropical infection melioidosis. Pneumonia is a common manifestation of melioidosis and is associated with high mortality. Understanding the key elements of host defense is essential to developing new therapeutics for melioidosis. As a flagellated bacterium encoding type III secretion systems, B. pseudomallei may trigger numerous host pathogen recognition receptors. TLR5 is a flagellin sensor located on the plasma membrane. NLRC4, along with NAIP proteins, assembles a canonical caspase-1-dependent inflammasome in the cytoplasm that responds to flagellin (in mice) and type III secretion system components (in mice and humans). In a murine model of respiratory melioidosis, Tlr5 and Nlrc4 each contributed to survival. Mice deficient in both Tlr5 and Nlrc4 were not more susceptible than single knockout animals. Deficiency of Casp1/Casp11 resulted in impaired bacterial control in the lung and spleen; in the lung much of this effect was attributable to Nlrc4, despite relative preservation of pulmonary IL-1β production in Nlrc4−/− mice. Histologically, deficiency of Casp1/Casp11 imparted more severe pulmonary inflammation than deficiency of Nlrc4. The human NLRC4 region polymorphism rs6757121 was associated with survival in melioidosis patients with pulmonary involvement. Co-inheritance of rs6757121 and a functional TLR5 polymorphism had an additive effect on survival. Our results show that NLRC4 and TLR5, key components of two flagellin sensing pathways, each contribute to host defense in respiratory melioidosis.
Author Summary
Melioidosis is an infection caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei, a bacterium that is found in tropical soil and water. Melioidosis can present in a variety of ways, but lung involvement is common and usually severe. The host response to infection governs outcome. In this study, we examined the role of two host sensors of bacterial components–TLR5 and NLRC4–to determine their necessity in respiratory melioidosis. Although both proteins are involved in detection of bacterial flagellin, in mice we defined specific and individual roles for TLR5 and NLRC4 in protecting against death from melioidosis. In humans with melioidosis involving the lung, genetic variation in these receptors also had independent associations with survival. These results underscore the importance of these elements of host defense in respiratory melioidosis and support further studies of the underlying mechanisms.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003178
PMCID: PMC4169243  PMID: 25232720
7.  Microevolution of Burkholderia pseudomallei during an Acute Infection 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(9):3418-3421.
We used whole-genome sequencing to evaluate 69 independent colonies of Burkholderia pseudomallei isolated from seven body sites of a patient with acute disseminated melioidosis. Fourteen closely related genotypes were found, providing evidence for the rapid in vivo diversification of B. pseudomallei after inoculation and systemic spread.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01219-14
PMCID: PMC4313173  PMID: 24966357
8.  Fatal Melioidosis in Goats in Bangkok, Thailand 
Bangkok, Thailand, is a city considered to be at low risk for melioidosis. We describe 10 goats that died of melioidosis in Bangkok. Half of them were born and reared in the city. Multilocus sequence typing ruled out an outbreak. This finding challenges the assumption that melioidosis is rarely acquired in central Thailand.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.14-0115
PMCID: PMC4125250  PMID: 24891468
9.  The role of NOD2 in murine and human melioidosis 
Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)  2013;192(1):10.4049/jimmunol.1301436.
NOD2 is a cytosolic pathogen recognition receptor that regulates susceptibility to a variety of infections and chronic diseases. Burkholderia pseudomallei, a facultative intracellular bacterium, causes the tropical infection melioidosis. We hypothesized that NOD2 may participate in host defense in melioidosis. We performed a series of in vitro assays and in vivo experiments, and analyzed the association of human genetic variation with infection to delineate the contribution of NOD2 to the host response to B. pseudomallei. We found that transfection with NOD2 mediated NF-κB activation induced by B. pseudomallei stimulation of HEK293 cells. After low dose inoculation with aerosolized B. pseudomallei, Nod2-deficient mice showed impaired clinical responses and permitted greater bacterial replication in the lung and dissemination to the spleen compared to wild type mice. IL-6 and KC levels were higher in the lungs of Nod2-deficient mice. In a cohort of 1,562 Thai subjects, a common genetic polymorphism in the NOD2 region, rs7194886, was associated with melioidosis and this effect was most pronounced in women. rs7194886 was not associated with differences in cytokine production induced by whole blood stimulation with the NOD2 ligand, MDP, or B. pseudomallei. These findings are the first to characterize the role of NOD2 in host defense in mammalian melioidosis.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1301436
PMCID: PMC3872087  PMID: 24298015
Burkholderia pseudomallei; melioidosis; NOD2; innate immunity; genetic variation; animal model; pneumonia; sepsis
10.  The role of NOD2 in murine and human melioidosis 
NOD2 is a cytosolic pathogen recognition receptor that regulates susceptibility to a variety of infections and chronic diseases. Burkholderia pseudomallei, a facultative intracellular bacterium, causes the tropical infection melioidosis. We hypothesized that NOD2 may participate in host defense in melioidosis. We performed a series of in vitro assays and in vivo experiments, and analyzed the association of human genetic variation with infection to delineate the contribution of NOD2 to the host response to B. pseudomallei. We found that transfection with NOD2 mediated NF-κB activation induced by B. pseudomallei stimulation of HEK293 cells. After low dose inoculation with aerosolized B. pseudomallei, Nod2-deficient mice showed impaired clinical responses and permitted greater bacterial replication in the lung and dissemination to the spleen compared to wild type mice. IL-6 and KC levels were higher in the lungs of Nod2-deficient mice. In a cohort of 1,562 Thai subjects, a common genetic polymorphism in the NOD2 region, rs7194886, was associated with melioidosis and this effect was most pronounced in women. rs7194886 was not associated with differences in cytokine production induced by whole blood stimulation with the NOD2 ligand, MDP, or B. pseudomallei. These findings are the first to characterize the role of NOD2 in host defense in mammalian melioidosis.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1301436
PMCID: PMC3872087  PMID: 24298015
Burkholderia pseudomallei; melioidosis; NOD2; innate immunity; genetic variation; animal model; pneumonia; sepsis
11.  Two fatal cases of melioidosis on the Thai-Myanmar border 
F1000Research  2014;3:4.
Melioidosis is endemic in areas of Southeast Asia, however, there are no published reports from the Thai-Myanmar border. We report the first two documented cases of fatal melioidosis in this region. This is of great public health importance and highlights the need to both increase clinical awareness of melioidosis on the Thai-Myanmar border, and to assess the true burden of disease in the area through improved case detection and Burkholderia pseudomallei prevalence studies.
doi:10.12688/f1000research.3-4.v2
PMCID: PMC3976102  PMID: 24715973
12.  The BpeEF-OprC Efflux Pump Is Responsible for Widespread Trimethoprim Resistance in Clinical and Environmental Burkholderia pseudomallei Isolates 
Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (co-trimoxazole) is the primary drug used for oral eradication therapy of Burkholderia pseudomallei infections (melioidosis). Here, we demonstrate that trimethoprim resistance is widespread in clinical and environmental isolates from northeast Thailand and northern Australia. This resistance was shown to be due to BpeEF-OprC efflux pump expression. No dihydrofolate reductase target mutations were involved, although frequent insertion of ISBma2 was noted within the putative folA transcriptional terminator. All isolates tested remained susceptible to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, suggesting that resistance to trimethoprim alone in these strains probably does not affect the efficacy of co-trimoxazole therapy.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00660-13
PMCID: PMC3754293  PMID: 23817379
13.  Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole versus trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole plus doxycycline as oral eradicative treatment for melioidosis (MERTH): a multicentre, double-blind, non-inferiority, randomised controlled trial 
Lancet  2014;383(9919):807-814.
Summary
Background
Melioidosis, an infectious disease caused by the Gram-negative bacillus Burkholderia pseudomallei, is difficult to cure. Antimicrobial treatment comprises intravenous drugs for at least 10 days, followed by oral drugs for at least 12 weeks. The standard oral regimen based on trial evidence is trimethoprim-sulfamethoxaxole (TMP-SMX) plus doxycycline. This regimen is used in Thailand but is associated with side-effects and poor adherence by patients, and TMP-SMX alone is recommended in Australia. We compared the efficacy and side-effects of TMP-SMX with TMP-SMX plus doxycycline for the oral phase of melioidosis treatment.
Methods
For this multi-centre, double-blind, non-inferiority, randomised placebo-controlled trial, we enrolled patients (aged ≥15 years) from five centres in northeast Thailand with culture-confirmed melioidosis who had received a course of parenteral antimicrobial drugs. Using a computer-generated sequence, we randomly assigned patients to receive TMP-SMX plus placebo or TMP-SMX plus doxycycline for 20 weeks (1:1; block size of ten, stratified by study site). We followed patients up every 4 months for 1 year and annually thereafter to the end of the study. The primary endpoint was culture-confirmed recurrent melioidosis, and the non-inferiority margin was a hazard ratio (HR) of 1·7. This study is registered with www.controlled-trials.com, number ISRCTN86140460.
Findings
We enrolled and randomly assigned 626 patients: 311 to TMP-SMX plus placebo and 315 to TMP-SMX plus doxycycline. 16 patients (5%) in the TMP-SMX plus placebo group and 21 patients (7%) in the TMP-SMX plus doxycycline group developed culture-confirmed recurrent melioidosis (HR 0·81; 95% CI 0·42–1·55). The criterion for non-inferiority was met (p=0.01). Adverse drug reactions were less common in the TMP-SMX plus placebo group than in the TMP-SMX plus doxycycline group (122 [39%] vs 167 [53%]).
Interpretation
Our findings suggest that TMP-SMX is not inferior to TMP-SMX plus doxycycline for the oral phase of melioidosis treatment, and is preferable on the basis of safety and tolerance by patients.
Funding
Thailand Research Fund, the Melioidosis Research Center, the Center of Excellence in Specific Health Problems in Greater Mekong Sub-region cluster, and the Wellcome Trust.
doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61951-0
PMCID: PMC3939931  PMID: 24284287
15.  Two fatal cases of melioidosis on the Thai-Myanmar border 
F1000Research  2014;3:4.
Melioidosis is endemic in areas of Southeast Asia, however, there are no published reports from the Thai-Myanmar border.  We report the first two cases of fatal melioidosis in this region. This is of great public health importance and highlights the need to increase clinical awareness of melioidosis on the Thai-Myanmar border and to assess the true burden of disease in the area through improved case detection and Burkholderia pseudomallei prevalence studies.
doi:10.12688/f1000research.3-4.v1
PMCID: PMC3976102  PMID: 24715973
16.  Common TLR1 Genetic Variation Is Not Associated with Death from Melioidosis, a Common Cause of Sepsis in Rural Thailand 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e83285.
Melioidosis, infection caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, is a common cause of sepsis in northeast Thailand. In white North Americans, common functional genetic variation in TLR1 is associated with organ failure and death from sepsis. We hypothesized that TLR1 variants would be associated with outcomes in Thais with melioidosis. We collated the global frequencies of three TLR1 variants that are common in white North American populations: rs5743551 (-7202A/G), rs4833095 (742A/G), and rs5743618 (1804G/T). We noted a reversal of the minor allele from white North American subjects to Asian populations that was particularly pronounced for rs5743618. In the Utah residents of European ancestry, the frequency of the rs5743618 T allele was 17% whereas in Vietnamese subjects the frequency was >99%. We conducted a genetic association study in 427 patients with melioidosis to determine the association of TLR1 variation with organ failure or death. We genotyped rs5743551 and rs4833095. The variants were in high linkage disequilibrium but neither variant was associated with organ failure or in-hospital death. In 300 healthy Thai individuals we further tested the association of TLR1 variation with ex vivo blood responses to Pam3CSK4, a TLR1 agonist. Neither variant was robustly associated with blood cytokine responses induced by Pam3CSK4. We identified additional common variation in TLR1 by searching public databases and the published literature and screened three additional TLR1 variants for associations with Pam3CSK4-induced responses but found none. We conclude that the genetic architecture of TLR1 variation differs substantially in southeast Asians compared to other populations and common variation in TLR1 in Thais is not associated with outcome from melioidosis or with altered blood responses to Pam3CSK4. Our findings highlight the need for additional studies of TLR1 and other innate immune genetic modulators of the inflammatory host response and determinants of sepsis in southeast Asian populations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083285
PMCID: PMC3879377  PMID: 24392083
17.  Rapid Detection of Burkholderia pseudomallei in Blood Cultures Using a Monoclonal Antibody-Based Immunofluorescent Assay 
Melioidosis is a severe bacterial infection caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei. Rapid antimicrobial therapy is necessary to improve patient outcome, which is aided by direct detection of B. pseudomallei in clinical samples. A drawback for all antigen assays is that the number of B. pseudomallei in blood usually falls below the achievable level of detection. We performed a prospective cohort study of 461 patients with 541 blood cultures to evaluate the utility of a pre-incubation step prior to detection of B. pseudomallei using a monoclonal antibody-based immunofluorescent assay (Mab-IFA). The Mab-IFA was positive in 74 of 76 patients with melioidosis (sensitivity = 97.4%), and negative in 385 patients who did not have blood cultures containing B. pseudomallei (specificity = 100%). The Mab-IFA could be a valuable supplementary tool for rapid detection. We recommend the use of the Mab-IFA to test blood cultures that flag positive in regions where melioidosis is endemic.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.13-0212
PMCID: PMC3820345  PMID: 24019434
18.  Prevalence of Melioidosis in Patients with Suspected Pulmonary Tuberculosis and Sputum Smear Negative for Acid-Fast Bacilli in Northeast Thailand 
The clinical and radiological features of pulmonary melioidosis can mimic tuberculosis. We prospectively evaluated 118 patients with suspected pulmonary tuberculosis who were acid-fast bacilli (AFB) smear negative at Udon Thani Hospital, northeast Thailand. Culture of residual sputum from AFB testing was positive for Burkholderia pseudomallei in three patients (2.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.5–7.3%). We propose that in melioidosis-endemic areas, residual sputum from AFB testing should be routinely cultured for B. pseudomallei.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.13-0286
PMCID: PMC3820347  PMID: 24062474
19.  Leptospira Species in Floodwater during the 2011 Floods in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region, Thailand 
Floodwater samples (N = 110) collected during the 2011 Bangkok floods were tested for Leptospira using culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR); 65 samples were PCR-positive for putatively non-pathogenic Leptospira species, 1 sample contained a putatively pathogenic Leptospira, and 6 samples contained Leptospira clustering phylogenetically with the intermediate group. The low prevalence of pathogenic and intermediate Leptospira in floodwater was consistent with the low number of human leptospirosis cases reported to the Bureau of Epidemiology in Thailand. This study provides baseline information on environmental Leptospira in Bangkok together with a set of laboratory tests that could be readily deployed in the event of future flooding.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.13-0124
PMCID: PMC3795115  PMID: 24002484
20.  Molecular Confirmation of Co-Infection by Pathogenic Leptospira spp. and Orientia tsutsugamushi in Patients with Acute Febrile Illness in Thailand 
Leptospirosis and scrub typhus are major causes of acute febrile illness in rural Asia, where co-infection is reported to occur based on serologic evidence. We re-examined whether co-infection occurs by using a molecular approach. A duplex real-time polymerase chain reaction was developed that targeted a specific 16S ribosomal RNA gene of pathogenic Leptospira spp. and Orientia tsutsugamushi. Of 82 patients with an acute febrile illness who had dual infection on the basis of serologic tests, 5 (6%) had polymerase chain reaction results positive for both pathogens. We conclude that dual infection occurs, but that serologic tests may overestimate the frequency of co-infections.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.13-0402
PMCID: PMC3795116  PMID: 24002486
21.  Monoclonal Antibody-Based Immunofluorescence Microscopy for the Rapid Identification of Burkholderia pseudomallei in Clinical Specimens 
The diagnosis of melioidosis depends on the culture of Burkholderia pseudomallei, which takes at least 48 hours. We used a polyclonal-FITC-based immunofluorescence microscopic assay (Pab-IFA) on clinical samples to provide a rapid presumptive diagnosis. This has limitations including photobleaching and batch-to-batch variability. This study evaluated an IFA based on a monoclonal antibody specific to B. pseudomallei (Mab-IFA) and Alexa Fluor 488. A diagnostic evaluation was performed on a prospective cohort of 951 consecutive patients with suspected melioidosis. A total of 1,407 samples were tested. Test accuracy was defined against culture as the gold standard, and was also compared against Pab-IFA. A total of 88 samples from 64 patients were culture positive for B. pseudomallei. The diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of the Mab-IFA was comparable to the Pab-IFA (48.4% versus 45.3% for sensitivity, and 99.8% versus 98.8% for specificity). We have incorporated the Mab-IFA into our routine practice.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.13-0066
PMCID: PMC3748476  PMID: 23716405
22.  A Prospective Study of the Causes of Febrile Illness Requiring Hospitalization in Children in Cambodia 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60634.
Background
Febrile illnesses are pre-eminent contributors to morbidity and mortality among children in South-East Asia but the causes are poorly understood. We determined the causes of fever in children hospitalised in Siem Reap province, Cambodia.
Methods and Findings
A one-year prospective study of febrile children admitted to Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap. Demographic, clinical, laboratory and outcome data were comprehensively analysed. Between October 12th 2009 and October 12th 2010 there were 1225 episodes of febrile illness in 1180 children. Median (IQR) age was 2.0 (0.8–6.4) years, with 850 (69%) episodes in children <5 years. Common microbiological diagnoses were dengue virus (16.2%), scrub typhus (7.8%), and Japanese encephalitis virus (5.8%). 76 (6.3%) episodes had culture-proven bloodstream infection, including Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (22 isolates, 1.8%), Streptococcus pneumoniae (13, 1.1%), Escherichia coli (8, 0.7%), Haemophilus influenzae (7, 0.6%), Staphylococcus aureus (6, 0.5%) and Burkholderia pseudomallei (6, 0.5%). There were 69 deaths (5.6%), including those due to clinically diagnosed pneumonia (19), dengue virus (5), and melioidosis (4). 10 of 69 (14.5%) deaths were associated with culture-proven bloodstream infection in logistic regression analyses (odds ratio for mortality 3.4, 95% CI 1.6–6.9). Antimicrobial resistance was prevalent, particularly in S. enterica Typhi, (where 90% of isolates were resistant to ciprofloxacin, and 86% were multi-drug resistant). Comorbid undernutrition was present in 44% of episodes and a major risk factor for acute mortality (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1–4.2), as were HIV infection and cardiac disease.
Conclusion
We identified a microbiological cause of fever in almost 50% of episodes in this large study of community-acquired febrile illness in hospitalized children in Cambodia. The range of pathogens, antimicrobial susceptibility, and co-morbidities associated with mortality described will be of use in the development of rational guidelines for infectious disease treatment and control in Cambodia and South-East Asia.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060634
PMCID: PMC3621876  PMID: 23593267
23.  Systematic Review and Consensus Guidelines for Environmental Sampling of Burkholderia pseudomallei 
Background
Burkholderia pseudomallei, a Tier 1 Select Agent and the cause of melioidosis, is a Gram-negative bacillus present in the environment in many tropical countries. Defining the global pattern of B. pseudomallei distribution underpins efforts to prevent infection, and is dependent upon robust environmental sampling methodology. Our objective was to review the literature on the detection of environmental B. pseudomallei, update the risk map for melioidosis, and propose international consensus guidelines for soil sampling.
Methods/Principal Findings
An international working party (Detection of Environmental Burkholderia pseudomallei Working Party (DEBWorP)) was formed during the VIth World Melioidosis Congress in 2010. PubMed (January 1912 to December 2011) was searched using the following MeSH terms: pseudomallei or melioidosis. Bibliographies were hand-searched for secondary references. The reported geographical distribution of B. pseudomallei in the environment was mapped and categorized as definite, probable, or possible. The methodology used for detecting environmental B. pseudomallei was extracted and collated. We found that global coverage was patchy, with a lack of studies in many areas where melioidosis is suspected to occur. The sampling strategies and bacterial identification methods used were highly variable, and not all were robust. We developed consensus guidelines with the goals of reducing the probability of false-negative results, and the provision of affordable and ‘low-tech’ methodology that is applicable in both developed and developing countries.
Conclusions/Significance
The proposed consensus guidelines provide the basis for the development of an accurate and comprehensive global map of environmental B. pseudomallei.
Author Summary
Melioidosis is a serious infectious disease caused by the Tier 1 selected agent and Gram-negative environmental saprophyte, Burkholderia pseudomallei. The organism is commonly found in soil and water in melioidosis endemic areas. Infection in humans occurs following bacterial inoculation, inhalation or ingestion. There is a striking lack of accurate information on the global risk of melioidosis, something that could be determined from the global distribution of environmental B. pseudomallei. Soil sampling to detect the presence of B. pseudomallei has been ad hoc, poorly standardized, and the available information poorly collated. Negative studies are almost never reported, and there is no published review on this topic. We responded to this problem during the VIth World Melioidosis Congress held in Townsville, Australia in December 2010 by forming the ‘Detection of Environmental Burkholderia pseudomallei Working Party (DEBWorP)’. We have since worked together to undertake a systematic review, map the available information, and reach a consensus on low cost methods for the detection of environmental B. pseudomallei. Our goal is to promote the use of these consensus methods and encourage people worldwide to participate in an effort to produce a comprehensive global map of environmental B. pseudomallei.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002105
PMCID: PMC3605150  PMID: 23556010
24.  Impaired TLR5 Functionality Is Associated with Survival in Melioidosis 
Melioidosis is infection caused by the flagellated saprophyte Burkholderia pseudomallei. TLR5 is a pathogen recognition receptor activated by bacterial flagellin. We studied a genetic variant that encodes a defective TLR5 protein, TLR51174C>T, to elucidate the role of TLR5 in melioidosis. We measured NF-κB activation induced by B. pseudomallei in human embryonic kidney–293 cells transfected with TLR5 and found that B. pseudomallei induced TLR51174C- but not TLR51174T-dependent activation of NF-κB. We tested the association of TLR51174C>T with outcome in 600 Thai subjects with melioidosis. In a dominant model, TLR51174C>T was associated with protection against in-hospital death (adjusted odds ratio: 0.20; 95% confidence interval: 0.08–0.50; p = 0.001) and organ failure (adjusted odds ratio: 0.37; 95% confidence interval: 0.19–0.71; p = 0.003). We analyzed blood cytokine production induced by flagellin or heat-killed B. pseudomallei by TLR51174C>T genotype in healthy subjects. Flagellin induced lower monocyte-normalized levels of IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, IL-10, MCP-1, IL-1ra, G-CSF, and IL-1β in carriers of TLR51174T compared with carriers of TLR51174C. B. pseudomallei induced lower monocyte-normalized levels of IL-10 in carriers of TLR51174T. We conclude that the hypofunctional genetic variant TLR51174C>T is associated with reduced organ failure and improved survival in melioidosis. This conclusion suggests a deleterious immunoregulatory effect of TLR5 that may be mediated by IL-10 and identifies this receptor as a potential therapeutic target in melioidosis.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1202974
PMCID: PMC3607401  PMID: 23447684
25.  Activities of Daily Living Associated with Acquisition of Melioidosis in Northeast Thailand: A Matched Case-Control Study 
Background
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.
Methods/Principal Findings
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).
Conclusions/Significance
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.
Author Summary
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002072
PMCID: PMC3578767  PMID: 23437412

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