Melioidosis is an uncommon disease of man and animals caused by a bacterial organism that occurs in soil and water of many tropical and subtropical countries. The infective organism is [Burkholderia (Pseudomonas) pseudomallei] or [Malleomyces pseudomallei]. The exact mode of transmission is unknown but it is thought to be by direct contact with contaminated soil or water through the mouth or nose and through open wounds in the skin. The exact incubation period is unknown. It could be days, months, or years. The infection may not present any symptoms. If symptoms are present they can include a chronic pneumonia with abscess formation in the lung and severe blood poisoning. Death can occur despite treatment.
The disease is endemic in the area between 20øN and 20øS of the equator and is particularly important in southeast Asia and northern Australia. However, sporadic cases have been reported from all over the world, mainly in those who have visited the endemic areas.