Melioidosis – Lab without walls

Life in northern Australia is full of spectacular surprises and natural hazards, some more obvious than others…

Melioidosis is a fascinating disease, with a distinct geography, a wide range of clinical presentations and a complex pathogenesis. These factors all contribute to the public health challenge it presents in this region.

This great review on the potentially life-threatening disease caused by a native soil bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei by Mark Horstman on ABC Catalyst is well worth a watch. It features our good mate and MicroGnome guru – Prof Tim Inglis (Lab without Borders), Dr Mirjam Kaestli, Prof Bart Currie, A/Prof Dianne Stephens

Melioidosis is a common cause of serious pneumonia and blood poisoning in the Top End of Australia. The bacteria live below the soil’s surface during the dry season, but after heavy rainfall can be found in surface water and mud and may become airborne. Recent wet seasons have seen a dramatic increase in infections around Darwin. With the expansion of residential areas and irrigated agriculture in northern Australia, there is an even greater risk of exposure to Melioidosis.


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