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J Hosp Infect. 1992 Aug;21(4):301-6.

Melioidosis and safety in the clinical laboratory.

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Department of Pathology, Townsville General Hospital, Queensland, Australia.


Human infection with Pseudomonas pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis, typically produces subclinical disease and an asymptomatic carrier state; occasionally clinical illness, frequently with a fatal outcome, may occur. Consequently, to help protect staff from laboratory-acquired melioidosis, microbiological and biomedical laboratories must have adequate facilities for safe work procedures and laboratory staff must engage in safe work practices. Recommendations from a melioidosis-endemic, diagnostic laboratory for the prevention of laboratory-acquired infection with this bacterium are essentially Category 3 (Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens), Risk Group 3 (Australian Standards) or Biosafety Level 2 (National Institutes of Health) precautions. These include safeguards for centrifugation, prohibiting the 'sniff' test and the use of a biological safety cabinet for sputum processing, for subculture of stock strains, for preparation of antigen and for research studies but not for routine diagnostic techniques with P. pseudomallei.

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