Bacterium that can cause deadly infections found in U.S. soil and water for the first time

Bacterium that can cause deadly infections found in U.S. soil and water for the first time from End Time Headlines

A potentially deadly type of bacterium previously found only in parts of Southern Asia, Africa or Australia has been detected for the first time in soil and water samples in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

The bacterium, Burkholderia pseudomallei, can cause an illness called melioidosis, which has proven fatal in half of cases worldwide. About a dozen cases are discovered every year in the U.S., usually among people who had traveled overseas.

On Wednesday, however, the CDC announced that the bacterium had been found in soil and water samples along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, and it issued a health alert to physicians nationwide to be on the lookout for symptoms of melioidosis, which can be vague, including cough, fever and chest pain. In more severe cases, the illness can lead to disorientation, pneumonialike illness, and seizures.

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“It is unclear how long the bacteria has been in the environment and where else it might be found in the U.S.,” the CDC said in a statement. Dr. Jill Weatherhead, an assistant professor of tropical medicine and infectious diseases at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, was not surprised that the bacterium had made its way into the country.

“We live in a subtropical climate here in the U.S. along the Gulf Coast, where it’s warm and humid. This is a suitable environment for Burkholderia pseudomallei,” she said.

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