Ubon Ratchathani is a major province in northeast Thailand, bordered to the east by the Mekong River and Laos, and to the south by Cambodia. Ubon Ratchathani has a population of 2 million people, the majority of who are rice farmers. Sappasithiprasong Hospital is a 1000-bed hospital located in the center of Ubon Ratchathani.
MORU has undertaken collaborative studies at Sappasithiprasong Hospital since 1986. Areas of interest include melioidosis, Staphylococcus aureus infection and cryptococcal meningitis.
Our major focus is to:
- Improve diagnostics, and to determine the clinical impact of early diagnosis and treatment
- Conduct therapeutic trials that aim to reduce mortality
We are based at the Melioid Laboratory, which is situated in the grounds of Sappasithiprasong Hospital. We screen patients on the wards for suspected melioidosis prior to inclusion into treatment trials, provide a rapid diagnostic test (direct immunofluorescence assay) to the hospital, undertake culture of clinical samples together with bacterial identification, and devise and evaluate new diagnostic tests.
Over the last 20 years we have undertaken a series of treatment trials that has led to a halving of mortality from melioidosis in our patient population. Patients with melioidoisis who are discharged from the hospital enter a programme of lifelong follow-up at the melioid clinic at Sappasithiprasong Hospital. We have documented more than 2,500 culture confirmed melioidosis patients presenting to Sappasithiprasong Hospital, and have undertaken and more than 10 randomized clinical trials.
We are currently the leading unit worldwide in clinical melioidosis research, and hold the largest collection worldwide of bacterial isolates linked to a patient database. A number of B. pseudomallei isolates used extensively by the scientific community originated from our unit.