Risk of Exposure

While melioidosis infection has taken place all over the world, Southeast Asia and northern Australia are the areas in which it is primarily found. The only places this bacterium, called Burkholderia pseudomallei, occurs naturally in the United States are Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Around a dozen cases are identified each year in the United States and have primarily occurred among travelers and immigrants coming from places where the disease is widespread. However, we have seen melioidosis cases in the United States with no history of travel to areas where the disease is widespread.

Moreover, it has been found among troops of all nationalities that have served in areas with widespread disease.

The greatest numbers of melioidosis cases are reported in:

  • Thailand
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • Northern Australia

Cases are also frequently reported in:

  • India and Sri Lanka
  • Southern China
  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan
  • Vietnam
  • Indonesia
  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Myanmar (Burma)

Outside of Asia and Australia, cases have been reported in:

  • The South Pacific (New Caledonia)
  • Mexico
  • El Salvador
  • Panama
  • Ecuador
  • Peru
  • Guyana
  • Puerto Rico
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Martinique
  • Guadeloupe
  • Brazil
  • Parts of Africa and the Middle East

Related Links

Traveler’s Health Yellow Book: Melioidosis

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