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Melioidosis and Aboriginal seasons in northern Australia

Cheng, Allen C., Jacups, Susan, Ward, Linda and Currie, Bart J. (2008). Melioidosis and Aboriginal seasons in northern Australia. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene,102(SUPPL. 1):S26-S29.

Document type: Journal Article

IRMA ID 79264104xPUB33
Title Melioidosis and Aboriginal seasons in northern Australia
Author Cheng, Allen C.
Jacups, Susan
Ward, Linda
Currie, Bart J.
Journal Name Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Publication Date 2008
Volume Number 102
Issue Number SUPPL. 1
ISSN 0035-9203   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page S26
End Page S29
Total Pages 1
Place of Publication UK
Publisher Elsevier Ltd
Field of Research 0605 - Microbiology
1108 - Medical Microbiology
1117 - Public Health and Health Services
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Melioidosis, an infection due to the environmental bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, is endemic to Southeast Asia and northern Australia, with cases strongly correlated with the monsoonal wet season. We hypothesized that seasonal variation in the mode of acquisition, informed by traditional knowledge, would result in variations in disease characteristics as well as disease incidence. We explored the seasonal variation in acute, culture-confirmed melioidosis using local Aboriginal definitions of seasons in presentations to the Royal Darwin Hospital, the referral centre for the Top End of the Northern Territory, Australia. In 387 patients, we observed an increased proportion of patients with pneumonia (60%) and severe sepsis (25%) associated with presentations in the wet seasons Gunumeleng (October-December) and Gudjewg (January-March) compared with the drier seasons Wurrgeng (June August) and Gurrung (August-October) (pneumonia 26%, severe sepsis 13%). This observation supports the hypothesis that in the wet seasons there may be changes in the mode and/or magnitude of exposure to B. pseudomallei, with a shift from percutaneous inoculation to aerosol inhalation, for instance.
Keywords Melioidosis
Burkholderia pseudomallei
Seasonal variation
Traditional knowledge
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Created: Tue, 28 Apr 2009, 14:56:00 CST by Sarena Wegener