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This rare tropical deadly disease has reached the United States, CDC warns

The CDC warned of a rare tropical disease that has infected 4 people and killed 2 more so far in the United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logo in Atlanta.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logo at the agency’s federal headquarters in Atlanta. The CDC warned of a rare tropical disease that has infected 4 people and killed 2 more so far in the United States
David Goldman, Associated Press

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Monday that the rare tropical disease melioidosis has reached the United States, infecting four people and killing two of them, per The Associated Press.

  • The tropical disease — caused by bacteria that comes from soil and water — is often found in South Asia.
  • “It is spread to humans and animals through direct contact with the contaminated source,” according to the CDC.

There have been cases discovered in Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota and Texas. The infected person in Georgia died from the disease, according to 11 Alive, a local news site in Georgia.

  • None of these people traveled internationally, which has been “puzzling experts,” according to The Associated Press.

Health officials have warned doctors to consider melioidosis as a potential diagnosis if they see patients who are facing a bacterial infection but don’t respond well to antibiotic treatments, per the AP.

What are the symptoms of melioidosis?

Per the CDC, melioidosis has a number of symptoms that make it seem similar to tuberculosis or pneumonia.

  • Symptoms often include fever, as well as pain or swelling in specific areas of the body.
  • People can also suffer from a cough, chest pain, high fever or headache.
  • You can read a full list of melioidosis symptoms at the CDC.

Who is at risk for melioidosis?

People with underlying medical conditions are at risk for melioidosis, including those with diabetes, liver disease and cancer, among others, according to the CDC.

Is there a treatment for melioidosis?

Yes. There are a number of medications doctors can use to protect people against the disease.