Melioidosis is a bacterial disease that occurs primarily in tropical and subtropical areas. Goats, sheep, pigs, horses, camels, alpaca and llama, rodents and people can be affected but it is rare in cattle. Contaminated soil, mud and water are sources of infection.
|Where the disease occurs|
Melioidosis occurs rarely in Queensland and most cases are reported north of Bowen. Occasional cases have occurred as far south as Brisbane.
|The disease in animals|
Infected animals are reported occasionally from the north of Queensland and are investigated with particular concern for the safety of people. Clinical signs vary between species but are mainly weakness, respiratory disease, nasal discharge and recumbency. Nervous signs have been recorded. Treatment is unlikely to be undertaken in farm animals due to the risk to humans.
|How people can get the disease|
The organism exists in the soil and people usually contract the disease from this source. While animals certainly contribute to the contamination of the soil, this disease is not strictly spread from animals to humans.
Military personnel have developed the disease in association with inhalation of dust stirred up by helicopters.
The disease is not readily contracted and usually there is another underlying condition (e.g. diabetes, alcoholism) that results in increased susceptibility.
|Treatments for people|
Antibiotics are used to treat this disease. Long courses of treatment are required.
|Preventing the disease in people|
Last updated 27 September 2012