Melioidosis: What infection is caused by bacteria first found in the environment?

Burkholderia pseudomallei was first discovered in natural environments in the United States. If it affects someone, they can develop a disease called melioidosis/CDC

Bacteria are the most abundant living organism on the planet. One of them is bacteria. Burkholderia pseudomalleiIt is found most in tropical ecosystems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Now they have discovered this bacterium for the first time in the environment on continental lands. Infection with these bacteria can cause a disease called ‘talk’. While in Germany, the scientists found a key to the pathogen that could be used to develop a treatment.

in the United States, Bukholderia pseudomallei Through environmental sampling of soil and water in the Gulf Coast region of southern Mississippi. It was from the investigation of two cases of people diagnosed with melioidosis.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention experts, “It is not clear how long the bacteria were in the environment before 2020 or how widespread the bacteria were in the continental United States; models suggest that environmental conditions in Gulf Coast countries are favorable for the growth of B. pseudomallei. Extensive environmental sampling is needed to answer these questions.”

According to experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
According to CDC experts, “It is not clear how long the bacteria were in the environment before 2020 or how widespread the bacteria were on the mainland / REUTERS / Tami Chappell

The federal agency has issued advice on the presence of the bacteria for clinicians and public health officials to consider shingles in patients whose clinical presentation corresponds to signs and symptoms of the disease, regardless of travel history to international endemic areas. This recommendation is based on the fact that the discovery of the bacterium permits word sickness as now a locally endemic disease in parts of the Mississippi Gulf Coast region.

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The two patients that led to the discovery of bacteria in the environment were not related to each other, but lived in geographical close proximity in the Gulf Coast region of southern Mississippi. Both have not recently traveled outside the United States. They were diagnosed with meeloidosis for two years, in July 2020 and May 2022.

Genomic sequencing data revealed that the two patients were infected with the same new strain from the Western Hemisphere. Both patients were hospitalized with sepsis as a result of pneumonia. And they had known risk factors for melioidosis. Both patients recovered After antibiotic treatment.

Burkholderia pseudomalle bacteria usually live in soil and water in regions with tropical and subtropical climates /, Dr. Jan Yoon Hoen
Burkholderia pseudomalle bacteria usually live in soil and water in regions with tropical and subtropical climates /, Dr. Jan Yoon Hoen

Last June, the Mississippi Department of Health and the CDC collected samples of soil, water, and plant material from patients’ property, from the neighborhoods they frequent, and from household products. Three samples of soil and water taken from a patient’s property from 2020 tested positive at the CDC for the bacteria.

The results of bacteria analysis from both patients and environmental samples were genetically similar and different from previously known isolates, This indicates that environmental bacteria were the likely source of infection for both patients and that they have been present in the area since at least 2020.

bacteria Pseudomonas Burkholderia They typically live in soil and water in areas with tropical and subtropical climates around the world, such as South and Southeast Asia, northern Australia, parts of Central and South America, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. It can infect both animals and humans through direct contact with undamaged skin (eg cuts or wounds), mucous membranes, inhalation, or ingestion.

In Germany, they found an enzyme from bacteria that plays a key role in causing bruising after infection / Michael Grohl / Felix Troutmann
In Germany, they found an enzyme from bacteria that plays a key role in causing bruising after infection / Michael Grohl / Felix Troutmann

The risk of person-to-person transmission is considered to be very low, since there are few documented cases of person-to-person transmission. Instead, contact between damaged (improper) skin and contaminated soil or water is the most common route of natural infection. In most cases, symptoms appear between 1 and 21 days after exposure, with an average of 7 days.

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Until now, There have only been an average of 12 cases of shingles in the United States: most have occurred in people who have recently traveled to a country where the bacteria is known to be endemic. By 2021, 4 cases were found in four states and were linked to contaminated imported aromatherapy spray.

Symptoms may include fever, localized pain or swelling, ulceration, abscess, cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, weight loss, abdominal discomfort, muscle or joint pain, confusion, headache, and seizures. Patients usually have an acute illness, but about 9% have a chronic infection, with symptoms lasting more than two months.

Scientist Felix Troutmann was one of the researchers who found the enzyme as a potential target for the future treatment of slurred speech
Scientist Felix Troutmann was one of the researchers who found the enzyme as a potential target for the future treatment of slurred speech

This week, researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Research in Natural Products and Infection Biology – the Hans Knoll Institute in Germany, report that they have identified an enzyme that could be a therapeutic target to combat chalazion. This enzyme helps Burkholderia pseudomallei bacteria build a toxin molecule essential in the infection process. The results have been published in nature chemistry.

Christian Hertwick, one of the scientists who discovered the enzyme, explained that they are looking for bacteria with the goal of developing more effective treatments. He noted that antibiotic treatment often lasts for several months and is not always successful.” “We have found an enzyme that makes an essential molecular structure for infection,” explained Felix Troutmann, first author of the study.

The discovered enzyme, known as BurG, forms a cyclopropanol ring, a highly reactive chemical functional group, from a precursor molecule. In previous studies, Trottmann was able to show that this structure is also produced by pathogenic bacteria of the genus Burkholderia It appears to play an important role in infection. If the biosynthesis pathway of this molecule is disrupted by mutations, the bacteria are much less dangerous. “In the next step, we can now try to design active compounds that inhibit the enzyme and thus make the bacteria less virulent,” Troutmann said.

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Sacha Woodward

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