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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2019 Apr 19;13(4):e0007348. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0007348. eCollection 2019 Apr.

Prevalence and genetic diversity of Burkholderia pseudomallei isolates in the environment near a patient's residence in Northeast Thailand.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.
Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.
Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States America.
Department of Clinical Microbiology, Buriram hospital, Buriram, Thailand.
Department of Medicine, Buriram hospital, Buriram, Thailand.



Burkholderia pseudomallei is the causative agent of melioidosis, a severe infectious disease in tropical regions. It is necessary to understand the risk of acquiring this infection from the environment.


The prevalence, concentration and genetic diversity of B. pseudomallei isolates collected from two sites in Buriram, Northeast Thailand were investigated. Forty-four environmental samples (18 from soil, 14 from rice rhizosphere, and 12 from water) were collected; of those 44 samples, 19 were collected from near a patient's residence and 25 from suspected exposure sites and compared with 10 clinical isolates of the patient. Quantitative culture was performed, and B. pseudomallei was identified using the latex agglutination test and matrix-laser absorption ionisation mass spectrometry. Genotyping was performed in 162 colonies from clinical (N = 10) and environmental samples (N = 152) using pulse-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) followed by multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) of the clinical strain. B. pseudomallei was detected in 11 of the 44 environmental samples (1 from soil, 4 from rice rhizosphere, and 6 from water). The bacterial count in the positive soil sample was 115 CFU/g. The mean concentrations ± SDs of B. pseudomallei in the positive water and rhizosphere samples were 5.1 ± 5.5 CFU/ml and 80 ± 49 CFU/g, respectively. Six water samples with positive results were collected from a pond and water sources for drinking and daily use. All colonies isolated from the patient shared the same PFGE type (PT) indicating monoclonal infection of ST99. Although the 152 colonies from environmental isolates exhibited 25 PTs, none were identical to the patient's isolates. PT5 and PT7 were most common genotype among the environmental samples.


Diverse genotypes of B. pseudomallei were prevalent in the environment. However, the patient may have been infected with a low-density genotype. Intervention strategies for preventing B. pseudomallei infection are required.

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