Groundwater seeps facilitate exposure to Burkholderia pseudomallei

Baker, Anthony, Tahani, Donald, Gardiner, Christopher, Bristow, Keith L., Greenhill, Andrew R., and Warner, Jeffrey (2011) Groundwater seeps facilitate exposure to Burkholderia pseudomallei. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 77 (20). pp. 7243-7246.

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Burkholderia pseudomallei is a saprophytic bacterium which is the causative agent of melioidosis, a common cause of fatal bacterial pneumonia and sepsis in the tropics. The incidence of melioidosis is clustered spatially and temporally and is heavily linked to rainfall and extreme weather events. Clinical case clustering has recently been reported in Townsville, Australia, and has implicated Castle Hill, a granite monolith in the city center, as a potential reservoir of infection. Topsoil and water from seasonal groundwater seeps were collected around the base of Castle Hill and analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR targeting the type III secretion system genes for the presence of B. pseudomallei. The organism was identified in 65% (95% confidence interval [CI], 49.5 to 80.4) of soil samples (n = 40) and 92.5% (95% CI, 83.9 to 100) of seasonal groundwater samples (n = 40). Further sampling of water collected from roads and gutters in nearby residential areas after an intense rainfall event found that 88.2% (95% CI, 72.9 to 100) of samples (n = 16) contained viable B. pseudomallei at concentrations up to 113 CFU/ml. Comparison of isolates using multilocus sequence typing demonstrated clinical matches and close associations between environmental isolates and isolates derived from clinical samples from patients in Townsville. This study demonstrated that waterborne B. pseudomallei from groundwater seeps around Castle Hill may facilitate exposure to B. pseudomallei and contribute to the clinical clustering at this site. Access to this type of information will advise the development and implementation of public health measures to reduce the incidence of melioidosis.

Item ID: 21423
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1098-5336
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2012 05:28
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0605 Microbiology > 060504 Microbial Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920109 Infectious Diseases @ 100%
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