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Transmission Modes of Melioidosis in Taiwan

Department of Internal Medicine, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung 813, Taiwan
Department of Biotechnology, National Kaohsiung Normal University, Kaohsiung 824, Taiwan
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2018, 3(1), 26;
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 15 February 2018 / Accepted: 17 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Burden and Challenges of Melioidosis)
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In Taiwan, melioidosis is an emerging disease that suddenly increased in the Er-Ren River Basin, beginning in 2005 and in the Zoynan region during 2008–2012, following a typhoon. Additionally, the disease sporadically increased in a geography-dependent manner in 2016. Subcutaneous inoculation, ingestion, and the inhalation of soil or water contaminated with Burkholderia pseudomallei are recognized as the transmission modes of melioidosis. The appearance of environmental B. pseudomallei positivity in northern, central and southern Taiwan is associated with disease prevalence (cases/population: 0.03/100,000 in the northern region, 0.29/100,000 in the central region and 1.98/100,000 in the southern region). However, melioidosis-clustered areas are confined to 5 to 7.5 km2 hot spots containing high-density populations, but B. pseudomallei-contaminated environments are located >5 km northwestern of the periphery of these hot spots. The observation that the concentration of B. pseudomallei-specific DNA in aerosols was positively correlated with the incidence of melioidosis and the appearance of a northwesterly wind in a hot spot indicated that airborne transmission had occurred in Taiwan. Moreover, the isolation rate in the superficial layers of a contaminated crop field in the northwest was correlated with PCR positivity in aerosols collected from the southeast over a two-year period. The genotype ST58 was identified by multilocus sequence typing in human and aerosol isolates. The genotype ST1001 has increased in prevalence but has been sporadically distributed elsewhere since 2016. These data indicate the transmission modes and environmental foci that support the dissemination of melioidosis are changing in Taiwan. View Full-Text
Keywords: melioidosis; Burkholderia pseudomallei; transmission modes melioidosis; Burkholderia pseudomallei; transmission modes

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Hsueh, P.-T.; Huang, W.-T.; Hsueh, H.-K.; Chen, Y.-L.; Chen, Y.-S. Transmission Modes of Melioidosis in Taiwan. Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2018, 3, 26.

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