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Nephrology (Carlton). 2013 Mar;18(3):169-75. doi: 10.1111/nep.12024.

Melioidosis and the kidney.

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Department of Nephrology, Division of Medicine, Royal Darwin Hospital, Australia.


Melioidosis, caused by the saprophytic soil and freshwater Gram-negative aerobic bacillus Burkholderia pseudomallei, is classically characterized by pneumonia, sometimes with multiple organ abscesses, usually in patients with defined risk factors and with a mortality rate of up to 40%. It is a major cause of community-acquired sepsis in Southeast Asia and tropical northern Australia with an expanding global geographical distribution. It is increasingly recognized as an opportunistic infectious disease of importance to physicians, who may need to suspect it in at-risk patients that may come from or visit endemic areas, and could be fatal if treated late or inappropriately. Mortality could be prevented by early institution of specific antimicrobial therapy. Epidemiology, clinical features, overall management, and aspects of melioidosis particularly relevant to kidney disease and immunosuppression are discussed in this review.

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