Melioidosis in Africa: should we be looking more closely?
Birnie E., Wiersinga WJ., Limmathurotsakul D., Grobusch MP.
Melioidosis is a life-threatening infection caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, mainly found in Southeast Asia. Recently, African foci have been identified, although reports remain mostly anecdotal. In Africa, multiple febrile diseases have been erroneously attributed to malaria in the past, and many cases of fever remain mis- or undiagnosed. Vigilance for previously under-recognized pathogens may enhance our understanding of disease epidemiology and facilitate improvement of patient care. Melioidosis may be such a condition. We summarize data on melioidosis in Africa and discuss the future directions for epidemiological, clinical and bacteriological studies. We conclude that searching for old bugs in new places is no academic treasure hunt but a clinically relevant activity to pursue.