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BMC Proceedings

Open Access

Pulmonary melioidosis in CAMBODIA: a prospective study

  • Blandine Rammaert1Email author,
  • Julien Beauté1,
  • Laurence Borand1,
  • Sopheak Hem2,
  • Philippe Buchy3,
  • Sophie Goyet1,
  • Rob Overtoom4,
  • Cécile Angebault1,
  • Vantha Te5,
  • Patrich Lorn Try6,
  • Charles Mayaud7,
  • Sirenda Vong1 and
  • Bertrand Guillard1
BMC Proceedings20115(Suppl 1):P73

Published: 10 January 2011

Melioidosis is a disease caused by the soil-dwelling Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. It is endemic in South-East Asia but remains poorly documented in Cambodia where laboratory facilities are scarce. We report here a cohort of culture-confirmed cases of pulmonary melioidosis identified in two provincial hospitals in Cambodia, describing clinical and epidemiological characteristics.

Patients with melioidosis were identified through a laboratory based surveillance of acute lower respiratory infections (<14 days of illness) in two provincial hospitals from April 2007 to January 2010. B. pseudomallei was detected in sputum or blood through 42 cultures and confirmed by API 20 NE gallery. We collected clinical, microbiological and radiological data and visited patients several weeks after hospital discharge to document long-term outcome.

Melioidosis was found in 39 patients. The median age was 46 years including three patients ≤2 years and 56.4% were males. A close contact with soil and water was identified in 30 patients (76.9%). Pneumonia was the main radiological feature (82.3%), but pleurisy was also described in 6 patients. Eleven patients were severe. A positive blood culture was significantly associated with severe cases (90.9% vs. 50.0%; p<0.05) and with higher fatality (87.5% vs. 20%; p<0.01). A total of 24 (61.5%) patients died within 3 days, 23 without receiving any active drug against B. pseudomallei. One year after discharge, 11 patients were still alive and considered as cured.

Melioidosis is an emerging public health issue in Cambodia that requires nationwide access to laboratory facilities and timely appropriate treatment.



Supported by the French Development Agency through the Surveillance and Investigation of Epidemic Situations in Southeast Asia (SISEA) project.

Authors’ Affiliations

Epidemiology and Public Health Unit, Institut Pasteur in Cambodia
Biomedical Laboratory, Institut Pasteur in Cambodia
Virology Unit, Institut Pasteur in Cambodia
Swiss Red Cross
Pediatric Department, Donkeo Provincial Hospital
Pediatric Department, Provincial Hospital
Pneumology and Intensive Care Unit, Hôpital Tenon


© Rammaert et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2011

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.