Microbiology - Achievements

Bacterial & viral diseases

Our achievements include:

Melioidosis

Melioidosis remains a major cause of severe illness in Northeast Thailand; most worryingly patient numbers are increasing each year and it is now being increasingly recognised elsewhere in SE Asia, India, China, and Brazil.

Current treatment recommendations are based on MORU’s work. We study over 400 patients each year, and since 1986 over 4,000 patients with melioidosis have been studied. Recent achievements include:

Causes of febrile illness in rural Thailand and Laos

Rickettsial diseases

Because scrub and murine typhus have been found to be so important in rural areas in SE Asia we have greatly increased our research in this field. Large-scale comparisons of diagnostic tests for scrub typhus have been conducted, and the results are currently being analysed.

Leptospirosis

Staphylococcal infections

Identification of Staphylococcus aureus disease (caused by both MRSA and MSSA) as a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Thai and Cambodian rural hospital settings. This is not unexpected, as the same is true in Western countries, but in resource-limited settings the ability to diagnose and treat is much more restricted than in the developed world. Our findings also highlight the fact that staphylococcal infection is as much a tropical disease as a temperate one.

Fungal infections

We have been involved in researching the diagnosis, mechanisms and treatment of a number of fungal infections. These represent a major disease burden in the populations with which we work, particularly in northeast Thailand. These include: