Melioidosis and Aboriginal seasons in northern Australia

Cheng, Allen C., Jacups, Susan P., Ward, Linda, and Currie, Bart J. (2008) Melioidosis and Aboriginal seasons in northern Australia. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 102 (S1). S26-S29.

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Melioidosis, an infection due to the environmental bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, is endemic to Southeast Asia and northern Australia, with cases strongly correlated with the monsoonal wet season. We hypothesized that seasonal variation in the mode of acquisition, informed by traditional knowledge, would result in variations in disease characteristics as well as disease incidence. We explored the seasonal variation in acute, culture-confirmed melioidosis using local Aboriginal definitions of seasons in presentations to the Royal Darwin Hospital, the referral centre for the Top End of the Northern Territory, Australia. In 387 patients, we observed an increased proportion of patients with pneumonia (60%) and severe sepsis (25%) associated with presentations in the wet seasons Gunumeleng (October-December) and Gudjewg (January-March) compared with the drier seasons Wurrgeng (June August) and Gurrung (August-October) (pneumonia 26%, severe sepsis 13%). This observation supports the hypothesis that in the wet seasons there may be changes in the mode and/or magnitude of exposure to B. pseudomallei, with a shift from percutaneous inoculation to aerosol inhalation, for instance.

Item ID: 36919
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1878-3503
Keywords: Melioidosis, Burkholderia pseudomallei, seasonal variation, traditional knowledge, Aborigine, Australia
Funders: NHMRC
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2016 01:30
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110309 Infectious Diseases @ 40%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 30%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health @ 30%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920109 Infectious Diseases @ 60%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920204 Evaluation of Health Outcomes @ 40%
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