People can get melioidosis through direct contact with contaminated soil and water.
Humans and animals are believed to acquire the infection by inhalation of contaminated dust or water droplets, ingestion of contaminated water, and ingestion of soil-contaminated food or other contact with contaminated soil, especially through skin abrasions.
It is very rare for people to get the disease from another person. While a few cases have been documented, contaminated soil and surface water remain the primary way in which people become infected. Recently, tropical freshwater fish have also been identified as a risk of possible infection.
Besides humans, many animal species are susceptible to melioidosis, including: