Question on B. pseudomallei - imported products and animals

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Mar 18, 2022, 12:33:52 PM3/18/22

Dear All,


I hope you are faring well.


In the United States we have detected B. pseudomallei associated with imports such as an aromatherapy spray, tropical fish, iguanas, and non-human primates.


We are wondering if in other countries if there is any surveillance work or other protocols to detect B. pseudomallei in imports or if it is even perceived as an issue that should be addressed. If there is un-published recent info on B. pseudomallei in imports in other countries, we would certainly appreciated hearing about your experience.







Jay E. Gee, PhD
Bacterial Special Pathogens Branch
Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology
National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd, MS H17-2
Atlanta, GA 30329
Tel/Fax: 404.639.4936 / 3023



Prasanta R. Mohapatra

Mar 18, 2022, 1:43:07 PM3/18/22

Yes, it is perceived as an issue that should be addressed soon.  Probably, there is no (except individual efforts) surveillance system or other protocols are functional to detect B. pseudomallei in import/export products in India. It is needed to find out the source (origin) to stop such transmission. It would be reasonable if efforts could be made to trace the source of transmission in every proven case (like the melioidosis cases were traced to aromatherapy spray of  “lavender and chamomile” imported from endemic areas, underlined the potential of transmission of B. pseudomallei through commercial liquid products.


Thanking you,

With Kind regards,

Prasanta R Mohapatra, MD, FRCP(London), FRCP (Glasg), FACP(USA), FCCP(USA), FIDSA(USA), ATSF(USA)

Professor and Head,  Dept of Pulmonary Medicine & Critical Care, 

AII India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar -751019, India

PubMed publications:
Contact (Emergency) Cell:+91- 9438884288

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David Dance

Mar 19, 2022, 6:26:48 AM3/19/22



I am sure you are already be aware of the proposals made by Galimand in relation to tropical fish back in 1981 (Galimand M, Escallier G, Dodin A. Les risques sanitaires de l'importation des Poissons tropicaux. Ref Fr Aquariol. 1981;8(1):19-22).  I have no idea whether these were ever implemented or sustained in France.


After the outbreak in imported primates we had in the UK (Dance DAB et al. An outbreak of melioidosis in imported primates in Britain. The Veterinary

Record. 1992;130(24):525-9) , serological screening was implemented for feral macaques imported into the UK for a while. However, importation of wild-caught macaques was subsequently stopped.


Apart from that I am not aware of any other surveillance of imports, although clearly there may be things going on of which I am not aware and I would also be very interested to hear from others about this.





Enoka Corea

Mar 19, 2022, 6:38:40 AM3/19/22
I had a call from a coconut fibre exporter  (briquettes used for planting) about a melioidosis case in Holland that was attributed to using these briquettes while gardening. He wanted me to test his products and clear them for exporting from Sri Lanka.

Bart Currie

Mar 20, 2022, 10:48:11 PM3/20/22

Dear Enoka

I recall you telling me about that coconut fibre export story.

Do you know if the Dutch colleagues confirmed that the isolate was B. pseudomallei? Even more important, was it genotyped to show a link with South Asian strains, as Jay and CDC were able to do to confirm the origins of their 4 reported USA cases? If you have some contact details maybe Joost can chase it up from the Holland end.

The power of genotyping for linking epidemiology is only as good as the availability of a shared global set of genomes for MLST and whole genome sequencing where possible.



Enoka Corea

Mar 21, 2022, 7:12:15 AM3/21/22
Dear Bart
I do not know where the patient was diagnosed as I was only in touch with the coconut fibre manufacturer. I think his client in Holland was Compact Garden bodembedekker & potgrond, and they were making the complaint and requesting him to disinfect his products.

"I'm not sure what strain of the Burkholderia bacteria is that this woman is claiming to be infected with, but here is some research on meliodosis the disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei. I'd say that 28 cases and 6 deaths through may this year in Sri lanka this year hardly represents a epidemic, but the data shows that the incidence is up exponentially. People with suppressed immune systems are particularly susceptible.

 We certainly don't want to be sending it out to the world. I was thinking (and i don't even know if this disenfection method would be effective) but it would be fairly easy to connect UV lights to say the sifters to kill surface incidence of this and other potential pathogens."


From: <> on behalf of Bart Currie <>
Sent: Monday, March 21, 2022 2:48 AM
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Subject: RE: [Melioidosis] Question on B. pseudomallei - imported products and animals


Mar 23, 2022, 8:04:44 AM3/23/22

Dear Prasanta, David, Bart and Enoka,


Thank you all very much for sharing your perspectives. We are continuing to assess what may be appropriate here in the U.S. about dealing with imports.


Hopefully with Covid restrictions easing, we will be able to talk in person at future melioidosis meetings.


Best regards,



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