Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

MOCRU and its partner Medical Action Myanmar (MAM) have begun a study to identify areas in Myanmar where Burkholderia pseudomallei is present in the soil and where people are at risk of melioidosis, a difficult to diagnose deadly bacterial disease.

MOCRU Director Frank Smithuis is Principal Investigator for the study, which will take 2,000 samples from 200 locations across Myanmar and then look at hospitals where B. pseudomallei seems prevalent and see if it can confirm melioidosis in patients. The Dept of Medical research will do the microbiology for the study.

A highly pathogenic bacterium commonly found in soil and water in South and Southeast Asia and endemic in northeast Thailand and northern Australia, B. pseudomallei causes melioidosis. Contracted through the skin, lungs or by drinking contaminated water, melioidosis is difficult to diagnose as it mimics other diseases. B. pseudomallei is resistant to a wide range of antimicrobials, and a cause of sepsis with a high mortality rate (50-90% depending on level of care available).  

Although melioidosis was first described in Rangoon (Yangon) in 1912, the distribution of B. pseudomallei in soil and the extent of melioidosis in Myanmar remains largely unknown. Local studies have confirmed the presence of B. pseudomallei in soil and confirmed clinical cases of melioidosis in Yangon. Other melioidosis cases have been found on the Thai-Myanmar border.

Funded by MAM, the study will run for 6-12 months and contribute to the global mapping of B. pseudomallei.

A landmark 2016 study by MORU’s Direk Limmathurotsakul that predicted that melioidosis is likely to be present in many more countries than previously thought, estimated that there may have been up to 6,247 melioidosis cases resulting in 3,687 deaths in Myanmar in 2015.

-Text and photos courtesy of Frank Smithuis and Liz Ashley

Similar stories

Evidence supports WHO recommendation for primaquine combined with ACTs to block Plasmodium falciparum transmission

MORU Bangkok Publication Research

Evidence from a new study, initiated by the Primaquine Roll Out Group and conducted at WWARN, supports the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation for use of 0.25mg/kg dose of primaquine (PQ) combined with artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACT) to block Plasmodium falciparum transmission.

Check-list recommended to improve reporting of microscopy methods and results in malaria studies

MORU Bangkok Publication Research

A study to explore the variations of how microscopy methods are reported in published malaria studies has recommended standardised procedures should be implemented for methodological consistency and comparability of clinical trial outcomes.

The COVID-19 vaccine: do we know enough to end the pandemic?

MORU Bangkok Research

Blog by Rima Shretta. Preliminary efficacy results from three vaccine candidates currently in Phase 3 trials have shown an efficacy of more than 90% against the development of symptomatic COVID-19. While these results are promising, all vaccines are in relatively early stages of testing. A comprehensive and transparent roadmap is urgently needed, to determine how limited doses of the first vaccines to be licensed will be distributed, together with which groups will initially be prioritized.

New study on the risk of Plasmodium vivax parasitaemia after Plasmodium falciparum malaria

MORU Bangkok Publication Research

A new study quantifying the high risk of Plasmodium vivax parasitaemia after treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria aims to identify populations in which a policy of universal radical cure, combining artemisinin-based combination therapy with a hypnozoitocidal antimalarial drug, would be most beneficial.

Oxford Global Research

COMRU MOCRU MORU Bangkok Research SMRU

Oxford is world-famous for research excellence and home to some of the most talented people from across the globe. To showcase our global research, the University launched a Global Research Map, highlighting areas of research we are conducting overseas.

MORU students Mo Yin and Myo Maung Maung Swe receive NDM awards

Awards & Appointments MOCRU MORU Bangkok

MORU’s Mo Yin and MOCRU’s Myo Maung Maung Swe were awarded a prize by the NDM’s Graduate Studies Committee. Very competitive awards, the prizes are given annually to current or recently graduated students of NDM supervisors on the basis of their publication record, the impact and novelty of their research, references, and research within their department.