Melioidosis has only been sporadically reported throughout Melanesia and the Pacific region since the first report from Guam in 1946; therefore, its contribution to the disease burden in this region is largely unknown. However, the outcome of a small number of active surveillance programs, serological surveys, and presumptive imported cases identified elsewhere provide an insight into its epidemiology and potential significance throughout the region. Both clinical cases and environmental reservoirs have been described from the rural district of Balimo in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea and from the Northern Province of New Caledonia. In both these locations the incidence of disease is similar to that described in tropical Australia and Burkholderia pseudomallei
isolates are also phylogenetically linked to Australian isolates. Serological evidence and presumptive imported cases identified elsewhere suggest that melioidosis exists in other countries throughout the Pacific. However, the lack of laboratory facilities and clinical awareness, and the burden of other infections of public health importance such as tuberculosis, contribute to the under-recognition of melioidosis in this region.
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