There has been a lot of news recently about Melioidosis, so what exactly is it? Melioidosis is a disease that is often overlooked but can be deadly, having a mortality rate of 40-75% if not treated properly. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for Melioidosis. We will also talk about how to protect yourself from this disease.
What is Melioidosis?
Melioidosis is a bacterial infection that is caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. This bacterium is found in soil and water worldwide though often seen in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia. In most cases, people are exposed to it through contact with contaminated soil or water.
The incubation period usually ranges from 2 to 4 weeks but it can be possible to range from 1 day to a few years.
What are the symptoms of Melioidosis?
The symptoms of Melioidosis can vary from person to person and may be mild or severe. Some people may just have a fever and a cough. Others may have more serious symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, and diarrhea. It may present as a localised skin infection, pneumonia or an infection in the blood.
The most common symptoms include:
If you develop any of these symptoms, it's important to see a doctor.
How is Melioidosis treated?
The treatment depends on the severity of the infection, but it typically involves antibiotics and hospitalization. Long-term treatment may be necessary for some chronic infection cases. Some people may require surgery to clear a localised infection.
How can you prevent Melioidosis?
No vaccine is currently available to protect against Melioidosis. However, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself.
If you are concerned about Melioidosis and want to speak to a healthcare professional, contact us at 2537 8500 or book an appointment with a doctor.
Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong