Melioidosis (Whitmore's Disease)

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Melioidosis Diagnosis

Urinalysis

A urinalysis is simply an analysis of the urine. It is a very common test that can be performed in many health-care settings, including doctors' offices, urgent-care facilities, laboratories, and hospitals.

A urinalysis test is performed by collecting a urine sample from the patient in a specimen cup. Usually only small amounts (30-60 mLs) may be required for urinalysis testing. The sample can be either analyzed in the medical clinic or sent to a laboratory to perform the tests.

Melioidosis facts

  • Melioidosis is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium, Burkholderia pseudomallei.
  • Melioidosis infection commonly involves the lungs.
  • Melioidosis is diagnosed with the help of blood, urine, sputum, or skin-lesion testing.
  • Melioidosis is treated with antibiotics.
  • The overall mortality rate is 40%.

What is melioidosis? What causes melioidosis?

Melioidosis, also called Whitmore's Disease, is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium called Burkholderia pseudomallei (previously known as Pseudomonas pseudomallei). The bacteria are found in contaminated water and soil and spread to humans and animals through direct contact with the contaminated source. The bacteria are also of some concern as a potential agent for biological warfare and biological terrorism.

Melioidosis is similar to glanders disease, which is passed to humans from infected domestic animals.

What are risk factors for melioidosis?

Risk factors for developing melioidosis infection include

Other possible risk factors that may contribute to infection with melioidosis include steroid and other immunosuppressive therapy, rheumatic heart disease, congestive heart failure, pulmonary hemosiderosis, chronic granulomatous disease, and tuberculosis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/8/2016

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