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The Epidemiology of Melioidosis in the Balimo Region of Papua New Guinea

J. M. Warner, D. B. Pelowa, D. Gal, G. Rai, M. Mayo, B. J. Currie, B. Govan, L. F. Skerratt and R. G. Hirst
Epidemiology and Infection
Vol. 136, No. 7 (Jul., 2008), pp. 965-971
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30221564
Page Count: 7
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The Epidemiology of Melioidosis in the Balimo Region of Papua New Guinea
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Abstract

The distribution of Burkholderia pseudomallei was determined in soil collected from a rural district in Papua New Guinea (PNG) where melioidosis had recently been described, predominately affecting children. In 274 samples, 2‧6 % tested culture-positive for B. pseudomallei. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis using SpeI digests and rapid polymorphic DNA PCR with five primers demonstrated a single clone amongst clinical isolates and isolates cultured from the environment that was commonly used by children from whom the clinical isolates were derived. We concluded that individuals in this region most probably acquired the organism through close contact with the environment at these sites. Burkholderia thailandensis, a closely related Burkholderia sp. was isolated from 5‧5 % of samples tested, an observation similar to that of melioidosis-endemic areas in Thailand. This is the first report of an environmental reservoir for melioidosis in PNG and confirms the Balimo district in PNG as melioidosis endemic.

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