Tropical fever in remote tropics: tuberculosis or melioidosis, it depends on the lab

Warner, Jeffrey, and Rush, Catherine (2021) Tropical fever in remote tropics: tuberculosis or melioidosis, it depends on the lab. Microbiology Australia, 42 (4). pp. 173-178.

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Diagnostics tests used to identify the cause of infection using proteomics and genomics have revolutionised microbiology laboratories in recent times. However, approaches to build the capacity of clinical microbiology services in the rural tropics by simply transplanting these approaches have proven difficult to sustain. Tropical fever in the remote tropics is, by definition, a clinical diagnosis where the aetiology of fever is not known, treatment is empirical, guided by clinical suspicion with treatment failure often attributed to incorrect diagnosis or antimicrobial resistance. Tuberculosis (TB) in rural Papua New Guinea (PNG) is mostly diagnosed clinically, perhaps supported by microscopy. In fact, a ‘tuberculosis patient’ in rural PNG is included in the TB register upon commencement of TB treatment with or without any laboratory-based evidence of infection. The roll-out of GeneXpert is continuing to transform TB diagnostic certainty in TB endemic communities. Melioidosis is endemic in tropical regions and is increasingly reported to mimic TB. Isolation and identification of the causative agent Burkholderia pseudomallei remains the gold standard. Here, we discuss the increasing divide between rural and urban approaches to laboratory-based infection diagnosis using these two enigmatic tropical infectious diseases, in rural PNG, as examples.

Item ID: 70949
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2201-9189
Copyright Information: Journal Compilation © The Authors 2021 Open Access CC BY-NC-ND, published (by CSIRO Publishing) on behalf of the ASM.
Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM)
Projects and Grants: NHMRC Hot North Program
Date Deposited: 19 May 2022 03:40
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3207 Medical microbiology > 320701 Medical bacteriology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200404 Disease distribution and transmission (incl. surveillance and response) @ 100%
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