Bacteria That Cause Rare Tropical Disease Found in U.S. Soil, CDC Says

NEW YORK — A germ that causes a rare and sometimes deadly disease—long thought to be confined to tropical climates—has been found in soil and water in the continental United States, U.S. health officials said Wednesday. The bacteria was found on the property of a Mississippi man who had come down with the disease, melioidosis. Officials don’t know how long it had been there, but they say it likely is occurring in other areas along the Gulf Coast. U.S. physicians should consider melioidosis even in patients who haven’t traveled to other countries, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a health alert. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “Once it’s in the soil, it can be a health threat for people in the area,” said the CDC’s Julia Petras, who oversaw the investigation. The illness can start with a wide range of symptoms like fever, joint pain, and headaches. It’s treatable with the right antibiotics if it’s caught early, but it can lead to pneumonia, blood infections, and even death if not properly treated. About 12 cases are reported annually in the U.S. The vast majority have been in people who traveled to places where the bacteria is endemic, including certain regions of Australia, Thailand, and Central and South America. People can get the illness through direct contact with contaminated soil and water, especially if they have a cut on their hand or foot. It is also possible to inhal...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized healthscienceclimate Public Health wire Source Type: news