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Diabetes, Immune | February 16, 2019 | Author: Naturopath

Immune, diabetes


Melioidosis, also called Whitmore’s disease, is a bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, which is found in water and soil and can infect both humans and animals. It is spread through contamination in water and soil and is a most deadly condition often fatal. Burkholderia pseudomallei is a gram-negative, bipolar, aerobic, motile rod-shaped bacterium.

Where is it found

The bacteria causing disease is most often found in tropical areas of the world, notable Northern Australia and Southeast Asia where it is a public health problem, but it can spread to areas it would not normally be found making it a serious potential world threat.

MelioidosisSigns and Symptoms

Infection can present in a number of different ways:

  • Lung Infection
  • Septicaemia
  • Systemic infection
  • Localized infection

Lung infection- this may appear as mild bronchitis or be as severe as pneumonia with symptoms of fever, headache, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle ache and loss of appetite.

Septicaemic pneumonia is infection spread throughout the blood stream along with the lung. Symptoms of headache, fever, difficulties with breathing, stomach and joint pain as well as feelings of disorientation.

Skin infection can be transported through the blood to major organs of the body, heart, brain, liver, kidney as well as joints and eyes. This is known as disseminated melioidosis infection with symptoms appearing as fever, chest, stomach, joint and muscle pain. Headache, seizures and loss of weight can occur.

Localised infection will present with pain, swelling at the sight of infection along with ulceration and abscess. Symptoms are fever, muscle aches and pains.

These symptoms can occur within 3 weeks of being infected, but sometimes might take from months to years to present.

How infection occurs

Burkholderia pseudomallei bacteria is found in the deep layers of soil but will surface during the wet season and be found in muddy water after heavy rains or flooding.

How infection occursBecause it is found in contaminated water and soil, risk of infection is greater for those that drink non-chlorinated water, but the most common means of transmission is through a cut or open wound that comes contact with contaminated soil or water, or from breathing-in dust or water drops.

It is not usually spread through human or animal contact.

Who is most at risk?

Whist contact with Burkholderia pseudomallei bacteria might be common in some environments, not everybody will contact the disease. Those most at risk include:

  • Compromised immunity – cancer patients or people on certain medical treatments, such as steroids
  • Diabetics
  • Those with chronic lung or kidney disease
  • Alcoholics

Melioidosis is rare in healthy adults

What to do if think you are infected

Melioidosis is a life-threatening disease so medical support should be sought immediately. Diagnosis can be confirmed through laboratory test from blood, sputum, urine or purulent exudate from ulcers or wounds.  Antibiotic treatment to fight the infection will be started immediately.

Avoid contamination by following a few preventative measures, especially if you are at risk. There is no vaccine available so prevention is the key.

  • Wear waterproof clothing and footwear when out doors
  • Wear waterproof gloves when working in the garden
  • Cover all wounds with waterproof bandages
  • Use a nose and mouth face mask around dust and airborne water droplets

Supporting the immune system

Communication between the neuroendocrine system and immune systems allows the body to maintain homeostasis, this is especially when it has to respond to a stimulus, such as an infection. The body transforms when it has to fight an invading pathogen. Giving your body a fighting chance by supporting the immune system with adequate rest, reduce stress and consume a good diet.

Supporting the immune systemEating a nourishing, well balanced diet of good quality “close to nature” foods.

Fresh fruits and vegetables, good quality protein – meat, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, nuts seeds and grains should be the focus of the diet.

Getting adequate rest. Lack of sleep can lower your immune system making you more susceptable to infection. Whilst asleep your body releases proteins called cytokines which help with sleep. Cytokines also increase in times of stress, inflammation and infection. Lack of sleep can reduce the production of cytokines, infection fighting antibodies and cells.

Whilst there are no specific natural therapies against melioidosis, there are some nutrients that can help with the immune system. These include zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin A, and echinacea augustifolia.

Essential oils such as oregano oil, eucalyptus oil, Pelargonium graveolens and Rosmarinus officinalis have shown bactericidal properties against multi-drug resistant microbes and can work in synergy with anti-biotics, whether they can help with Burkholderia pseudomallei has not been verifiedbut may help fight infection.

The bottom line

Burkholderia pseudomallei is the bacterium responsible for melioidosis, which is prevalent throughout Southeast Asia.

  • Septicaemia from melioidosis is very high, and bacteria may be resistant to antibiotic therapy
  • Travellers visiting endemic areas may be at risk
  • If you live in an environment that could potentially harbour this deadly bacterium or you are infected, support your body with good health practices is important
  • Use preventive measures  Australia’s best online discount chemist


Melioidosis: Clinical impact and public health threat in the tropics

Melioidosis: An Australian Perspective

Treatment and prophylaxis of melioidosis

Human immune system during sleep

Bactericidal Property of Oregano Oil Against Multidrug-Resistant Clinical Isolates

Essential Oils, A New Horizon in Combating Bacterial Antibiotic Resistance

Antimicrobial Activity of Some Essential Oils—Present Status and Future Perspectives


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