What You Can Do to Prepare

You can take simple steps now that will help you if there is ever an emergency caused by the intentional release of the germs that cause melioidosis.

Know Your Medical History

People with certain medical conditions may be more likely to get severely ill from melioidosis if they come into contact with the germs that cause it. These medical conditions are:

  • Diabetes
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease (renal disease)
  • Thalassemia (a genetic blood disorder)
  • Cancer
  • Medical conditions that lower your body’s ability to fight infections
  • Chronic lung disease (cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), and bronchiectasis)

There is no vaccine to prevent melioidosis. If you come into contact with the germs that cause melioidosis, public health authorities might recommend that you take antibiotics for a few weeks. These antibiotics might keep you from getting sick. If you have any symptoms of the disease, you will need to seek medical care quickly and tell your doctor about coming into contact with the germs that cause melioidosis.

Know How to Get Information in an Emergency

If there were ever an emergency following an intentional release of the germs that cause melioidosis, CDC, state and local public health authorities, and law enforcement would start investigating and responding immediately. No one will have all of the answers on day 1, but as CDC and other authorities learn more, they will communicate it with you.

Woman looking at a laptop computer while holding young boy in her lap.

In an emergency, you will be able to get information from CDC’s website and social media pages, like Twitter and Facebook. CDC will let you know what you can do to protect yourself and your family. You can also seek information from your local or state public health department and your doctor.

What CDC does to prepare

CDC prepares for a melioidosis emergency so that if one ever happens, public health authorities can respond quickly. Some of CDC’s ongoing work includes:

  • Researching ways to improve laboratory tests and developing better ways to diagnose the disease.
  • Working with doctors and scientists from countries where people get melioidosis naturally to learn the best ways to treat the disease.
  • Providing support to laboratories in the United States so they have the knowledge and equipment that will help them detect melioidosis quickly and accurately.
  • Stockpiling antibiotics for distribution and use during a public health emergency in the United States.
  • Writing guidance to educate doctors and other healthcare providers about how to treat people with the disease and prevent those who have been exposed to the germs that cause melioidosis from getting sick.
  • Providing funds and guidance to help public health departments respond to all types of public health emergencies and build more resilient communities.
  • Regulating the possession, use, and transfer of the germs that causes melioidosis through the Federal Select Agent Program.
  • Training the public health workforce, healthcare providers, and leaders in the public and private sector on emergency response preparation.