Rare infectious disease kills Georgian, linked to three other cases in different states

Health News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — A Georgian has died of a rare infectious disease, that is linked to three cases in different states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC says the cases of melioidosis, include adults and children. Two out of the four had known risk factors and two died. Kansas, Texas and Minnesota each had one patient.

The CDC says the genome sequencing of bacteria found in all four patients closely matches. The strains appear to be found in South Asia, however, none of the patients traveled internationally. The CDC said it didn’t find the bacteria, Burkholderia pseudomallei, which causes melioidosis, in any of its more than 100 samples collected from the homes of the patients.

The CDC says the cause of the infection stems from imported food, drink, personal care, cleaning products or medicine or an ingredient found in those products.

The bacteria normally lives in moist soil and water, but in rare cases can contaminate wet or moist products, according to the CDC. The CDC says geography, time of illness, exposure to hundreds of products prior to becoming sick and the infection’s window of time can cause difficulty when identifying a single source.

The CDC asks doctors to monitor acute bacterial infection that’s resistant to antibiotics and consider melioidosis even if the patient hasn’t traveled internationally. Most children who contract melioidosis do not have risk factors. Underlying medical conditions may increase risk of the disease, the CDC said.

Major risk factors are:

  • Diabetes
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Cancer
  • or another condition that weakens the immune system.

The CDC recommends those experiencing a cough, chest pain, high fever, headache or unexplained weight loss should see their doctor.

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