Description of two fatal cases of melioidosis in Mexican children with acute pneumonia: case report

Gerardo Alvarez-Hernandez, Denica Cruz-Loustaunau, J. Antonio Ibarra, Adela Rascon-Alcantar, Jesús Contreras-Soto, Georgina Meza-Radilla, Alfredo G. Torres, Paulina Estrada-de los Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Melioidosis is an infectious disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei. In Mexico, the disease is rarely diagnosed in humans and there is no evidence of simultaneous environmental isolation of the pathogen. Here, we describe clinical profiles of fatal cases of melioidosis in two children, in a region without history of that disease. Case presentation: About 48 h before onset of symptoms, patients swam in a natural body of water, and thereafter they rapidly developed fatal septicemic illness. Upon necropsy, samples from liver, spleen, lung, cerebrospinal fluid, and bronchial aspirate tissues contained Burkholderia pseudomallei. Environmental samples collected from the locations where the children swam also contained B. pseudomallei. All the clinical and environmental strains showed the same BOX-PCR pattern, suggesting that infection originated from the area where the patients were swimming. Conclusions: The identification of B. pseudomallei confirmed that melioidosis disease exists in Sonora, Mexico. The presence of B. pseudomallei in the environment may suggest endemicity of the pathogen in the region. This study highlights the importance of strengthening laboratory capacity to prevent and control future melioidosis cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number204
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Burkholderia pseudomallei
  • Case report
  • Fatal outcome
  • Melioidosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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