ATLANTA (CBS46) – The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday confirmed a fatal case of a rare disease in Georgia.
The disease, melioidosis, also known as Whitmore’s disease, can affect both animals and humans. It is usually caused by soil or water contaminated with the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei.
The CDC said the Georgia case is linked to three earlier cases in Kansas, Texas and Minnesota that affected both parents and children. Two of the four patients in total had no known risk of disease and two died.
Although even healthy people can get melioidosis, there are some underlying medical conditions that can increase a person’s risk factor. The main risk factors include diabetes, chronic lung disease, liver or kidney disease, cancer, or any other condition that weakens the immune system.
The CDC has recommended anyone with the following symptoms to see their doctor, including cough, chest pain, headache, high fever, or unexplained weight loss.
According to the CDC, the disease is most often found in tropical climates, particularly in Southeast Asia and northern Australia.
The CDC said the four cases matched closely, suggesting there may be a common source. The agency added that the cases appear to be most closely linked to strains found in South Asia, although none of the patients have traveled overseas.
So far, the CDC said it has “collected and tested over 100 product, soil and water samples in and around patients’ homes,” adding “no samples have yet tested positive for Burkholderia bacteria. pseudomallei, which causes melioidosis “.
The CDC said it believed the most likely cause of the cases was an imported product such as a food, drink, medicine, personal care or cleaning item. The agency explained that in some rarer cases, the bacteria causing melioidosis can be found in contaminated moist or moist products, as opposed to soil and water.
However, the agency also explained that it is difficult to identify a single source of infection, due to symptoms that take two to three weeks to appear.
“It widens the window of time investigators need to explore and means people may be less likely to remember everything they’ve been exposed to before they get sick,” the CDC explained.
For now, the agency is asking doctors to watch out for acute bacterial infections that don’t respond to normal antibiotics and to consider melioidosis even for children, patients without risk factors and those who have not traveled. outside the United States.
For more information on melioidosis, click here.