The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning about a deadly disease found in Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota, and Texas. The disease is called Melioidosis or Whitmore’s Disease and is caused by “Burkholderia Pseudomallei bacterium.”
Many health officials are now trying to figure out the common source of the exposure of several cases in the areas mentioned above. This disease is often fatal.
In a statement, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the Texas Department of State Health Services said they are working with the CDC to research the cases. The four cases listed include children and adults. Two of the patients infected females, while the other two are males.
The first-ever case, where the victim already died, was identified in March 2021 in Kansas. The second and third cases were identified in May this year in Minnesota and Texas. The patients in these cases were hospitalized for a lengthy time and were later discharged to transitional care facilities. The most recent patient, who also died, was identified in late July 2021 in Georgia. None of the patients traveled outside the United States.
A person can contract Melioidosis by coming into close contact with polluted soil or water, inhalation of contaminated dust or water droplets, ingestion of dirty water, ingestion of soil-infected food, or contact with contaminated soil.
When you have Melioidosis, you can have symptoms like cough, diarrhea, fever, seizures, stomach or chest pain, and ulcers on or below the skin. Generally, the symptoms could appear two to four weeks after being exposed to the disease.
Those who have underlying medical conditions are at risk of contracting Melioidosis. Accordingly, those who have compromised immune systems like those who have AIDS or cancer, or those who have open skin wounds, diabetes, or chronic renal disease, should avoid contact with soil and contaminated water, usually found in farm areas. Although they are more at risk, healthy people should also avoid contact with such.
Melioidosis is not common in the United States but is common in tropical regions like Asia and Australia.
This comes as the United States is already witnessing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases driven by the highly contagious Delta variant.