University of São Paulo: Rare bacterium found in the US, contracted through the skin or inhalation, requires medical attention


A bacterium that causes a rare and dangerous disease known as melioidosis has been found in soil samples in the Mississippi Gulf in the United States. Researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have triggered a national alert. With the arrival of so many diseases in the world and especially in Brazil, in recent years, a specialist from USP explained what this disease is and the risks of being contracted.

Infectologist Max Igor Lopes Banks, coordinator of the Laboratory of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases at the Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina da USP, says it is “a disease typical of Southeast Asia and northern Australia, but when found in other places, as in the United States, they are imported “cases” of the disease”.

skin and lung
The Mississippi bacterium, as it is being called, can be contracted either through the skin or through inhalation and normally settles in the lung, which requires special attention from doctors. As it is a rare and opportunistic disease, it can affect people with comorbidities such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, among others.

There is a difficulty for doctors in diagnosing, because, in addition to lung problems, it also causes blood infection. Banks warns that there is already a remedy to combat the disease, which is not new – a case has already been registered in the Northeast of Brazil. “Furthermore, it is no longer one of those new diseases that can spread around the world. Another reassurance is that the spread from one person to another is extremely rare”, he concludes.

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