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Int J Exp Pathol. 2009 Feb;90(1):16-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2613.2008.00619.x.

Experimental acute respiratory Burkholderia pseudomallei infection in BALB/c mice.

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Biomedical Sciences, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Porton Down, Salisbury, UK.


Burkholderia pseudomallei is the causative agent of melioidosis, which is considered a potential deliberate release agent. The objective of this study was to establish and characterise a relevant, acute respiratory Burkholderia pseudomallei infection in BALB/c mice. Mice were infected with 100 B. pseudomallei strain BRI bacteria by the aerosol route (approximately 20 median lethal doses). Bacterial counts within lung, liver, spleen, brain, kidney and blood over 5 days were determined and histopathological and immunocytochemical profiles were assessed. Bacterial numbers in the lungs reached approximately 10(8) cfu/ml at day 5 post-infection. Bacterial numbers in other tissues were lower, reaching between 10(3) and 10(5) cfu/ml at day 4. Blood counts remained relatively constant at approximately 1.0 x 10(2) cfu/ml. Foci of acute inflammation and necrosis were seen within lungs, liver and spleen. These results suggest that the BALB/c mouse is highly susceptible to B. pseudomallei by the aerosol route and represents a relevant model system of acute human melioidosis.

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