Signs and Symptoms

Melioidosis has a wide range of signs and symptoms. It can be mistaken for other diseases, such as tuberculosis or more common forms of pneumonia.

There are several types of melioidosis infection, each with their own set of symptoms.

Localized Infection:

  • Localized pain or swelling
  • Fever
  • Ulceration
  • Abscess

Pulmonary Infection:

  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Anorexia

Bloodstream Infection:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Respiratory distress
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Joint pain
  • Disorientation

Disseminated Infection:

  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach or chest pain
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Headache
  • Central nervous system/brain infection
  • Seizures

The incubation period for melioidosis (time between exposure to the bacteria that causes the disease and the appearance of symptoms) is not clearly defined. It can range from one day to many years, but generally symptoms appear two to four weeks after exposure.

Although healthy people may get melioidosis, underlying medical conditions may increase the risk of disease. The major risk factors are:

  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • Renal disease
  • Thalassemia
  • Cancer, or another condition (not related to HIV) that weakens the immune system
  • Chronic Lung disease (such as cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and bronchiectasis)
man in hospital bed