ISSN: 0973-7510

E-ISSN: 2581-690X

Case Series | Open Access
Joshy M. Easow1, Namrata K. Bhosale2 , S. Pramodhini3 and Ramya Priyadarshini1
1Department of Microbiology, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (Deemed to be University), Puducherry, India.
2Department of Microbiology, Vinayaka Mission’s Medical College, Vinayaka Mission’s Research foundation (Deemed to be University), Karaikal, Puducherry, India.
3Department of Microbiology, Aarupadai Veedu Medical College and Hospital, Vinayaka Mission’s Research Foundation (Deemed to be University), Puducherry, India.
Article Number: 8880 | © The Author(s). 2024
J Pure Appl Microbiol. 2024;18(1):185-192.
Received: 31 July 2023 | Accepted: 01 February 2024 | Published online: 03 March 2024
Issue online: March 2024

Melioidosis, a potentially fatal disease caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei continues to be neglected in the Indian Subcontinent despite bearing about 44% of the global burden. Diagnosis poses a significant challenge since the disease presents a wide range of symptoms and closely mimics tuberculosis and pneumonia both of which are endemic in India. Sophisticated diagnosis and treatment often become unaffordable for patients from rural or low-income backgrounds. We present five cases of melioidosis from a tertiary care hospital (Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute ) in Pondicherry that exhibited predominantly high-grade fever, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Radiological imaging revealed abnormalities in the brain (1/5, 20%), lung (3/5, 60%), liver (2/5, 40%), spleen (2/5, 40%), kidney (2/5, 40%), and prostate gland (1/5, 20%). Burkholderia pseudomallei infection was confirmed through blood culture. Treatment with meropenem or ceftazidime was initiated immediately. Neuromelioidosis was confirmed in one patient. The clinical diagnoses for the remaining cases were as follows: septic shock, melioidosis with urosepsis, and refractory shock. Three patients required intensive care and of the five, one patient was discharged, one died, and three discontinued treatments against medical advice. In the case of the deceased patient, the clinical diagnosis encompassed refractory shock accompanied by lactic acidosis, melioidosis, and community-acquired pneumonia, which subsequently progressed to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Notably, this patient presented with co-morbidities, notably type 2 diabetes mellitus. This exemplifies the difficulty faced by patients from low-income backgrounds which forces them to discontinue expensive treatment. The true burden of melioidosis in the Indian Subcontinent is uncertain as many cases remain undiagnosed. Unawareness of the disease, low index of suspicion among medical professionals, incorrect treatment, and discontinuation contribute to the disease burden. It is therefore imperative that melioidosis is brought to the attention of healthcare policymakers to determine the true burden of the disease by prioritizing nationwide surveillance and diagnosis.


Melioidosis, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Meropenem, Neuromelioidosis

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© The Author(s) 2024. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License which permits unrestricted use, sharing, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.