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Rev Pneumol Clin. 1998 Dec;54(6):365-72.

[Pulmonary melioidosis].

[Article in French]

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HIA Laveran, Service de Pathologie Infectieuse et Tropicale, Marseille.


Melioidosis is most frequently encountered in pulmonary localization. Melioidosis is an infectious disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei first described by Whitmore in 1912 in Burma. B. pseudomallei is a Gram negative rod belonging to the Pseudomonadaceae family. Soil and water are the natural reservoirs for the germ which is a specific pathogen for several mammal species. Long endemic in Southeast Asia and several tropical zones, B. pseudomallei has recently been found in temperate zones, including France. Human contamination occurs via the transcutaneous route and often leads to dormant inapparent infection. Many conditions, such as diabetes, renal lithiasis, various circumstances of immunodepression or stress, facilitate clinical manifestations which vary greatly. Pulmonary manifestations may be acute and extensive, producing a torpid pseudo-tuberculous condition or a variety of clinical and radiological features mimicking other diseases. Bacteriological and serological tests may be negative. Exposure in an endemic zone, the notion of a favorable context, weight loss, cavitary images on successive chest x-rays and the presence of extra-pulmonary localizations may be suggestive. Ceftazidime or the amoxicillin-clavulanic acid combination are indicated, but mortality in acute forms still reaches 40%. Relapse can be expected if the treatment duration is too short.

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