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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Rare, deadly bacteria found in the United States, raising national alert

Rare bacteria were found in soil samples in the United States and generated a national alert: it is the Burkholderia pseudomallei, which causes melioidosis, a dangerous lung disease. She was in the Mississippi Gulf and is considered an imported case as she is not native to the country. The alert was issued by the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

To the Jornal da Universidade de São Paulo (USP), infectious disease specialist Max Igor Lopes Banks explained more about the disease. Typical of Southeast Asia and Northern Australia, appearances of the bacteria outside these countries are considered “imports”. The American incident even generated a new nickname for the microbe, “Mississippi bacteria”.

The Bacterium B. Pseudomallei Is Transmitted In An Environmental Manner, With Human-To-Human Spread Being Rare (Image: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)
The bacterium B. pseudomallei is transmitted in an environmental manner, with human-to-human spread being rare (Image: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)

How the rare bacterium is contracted

A B. pseudomallei it can be contracted through the skin or by inhalation, usually settling in the patient’s lungs and requiring special attention by medical personnel. The disease caused by the bacteria is rare and opportunistic, according to Banks, mainly affecting people with comorbidities such as diabetes, kidney disease and other chronic health conditions.

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For doctors, diagnosis is not easy, as the microbe does not just cause lung problems: there are chances that it also causes blood infections. Symptoms are easy to confuse with other infections, as they are characterized by high fever, chest pains associated with coughing, and bronchitis and pneumonia.

Latin America, according to data, is among the regions most vulnerable to the bacterium, as it develops better in rainy environments with high temperatures. It is estimated that 246 million people contract the B. pseumallei every year by environmental transmission.

In Brazil, the disease was first recorded in 2003, in Ceará, where cases continue to be diagnosed – which can only be done through microbiological culture. Despite being resistant to antibiotics, there are drugs that can fight the disease, according to Banks.

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Despite this, the expert says that there is no reason to worry about possible pandemics caused by the bacteria, as the spread from one person to another is extremely rare.

Source: Jornal da USP, Fapesp

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