Burkholderia pseudomallei is a saprophyte in soil, ponds, rice paddies and vegetables lo-cated in Southeast Asia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and other tropical areas. Infection is acquired by direct inoculation or by inhalation of aerosols or dust containing the bacteria. The disease, melioidosis, is usually an acute pneumonia; however, it is sufficiently vari-able that subacute, chronic, and even relapsing infections may follow systemic spread. Some soldiers relapsed years after their return from Vietnam. The clinical and radiologic features may resemble tuberculosis. In fulminant cases, rapid respiratory failure may en-sue and metastatic abscesses develop in the skin or other sites. Tetracycline, chloram-phenicol, sulfonamides, and trimethoprim – sulfamethoxazole have been effective in ther-apy. B. cepacia is an opportunistic organism that has been found to contaminate reagents, disinfectants, and medical devices in much the same manner as P. aeruginosa. It has also complicated the course of CF but does not produce the mucoid colony type seen with P.aeruginosa.
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