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Int J Antimicrob Agents. 1999 Aug;12(3):263-5.

Imipenem for the treatment of melioidosis.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, London Hospital Medical College, UK.


Melioidosis is a protean disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei. It is rare in the UK and is generally only seen in patients with a travel history to endemic areas such as Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. Cases may present with disseminated bacteraemic, non-disseminated bacteraemic, multi-focal bacteraemic or localized disease. Subclinical infections also occur. Following acquisition of the organism a patient may remain asymptomatic for several years before infection becomes clinically apparent. Factors such as diabetes, renal failure or other causes for a decrease in host immunity may precipitate the appearance of overt disease. The current treatment choice for severe melioidosis is parenteral ceftazidime followed by oral amoxycillin-clavulanic acid or a combination of co-trimoxazole, doxycycline and chloramphenicol. We report a case of melioidosis in a 59-year-old male diabetic from Bangladesh who initially responded to piperacillin-tazobactam but was changed to ceftazidime when a definitive diagnosis was made. His condition deteriorated on the latter antibiotic. He subsequently responded to imipenem. The patient's long-term outcome is still not known.

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