Association of Melioidosis Incidence with Rainfall and Humidity, Singapore, 2003–2012 - Volume 21, Number 1—January 2015 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC
Volume 21, Number 1—January 2015
Association of Melioidosis Incidence with Rainfall and Humidity, Singapore, 2003–2012
The gram-negative, saprophytic bacillus Burkholderia pseudomallei, which causes melioidosis, is endemic in northern Australia and Southeast Asia countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore (1). Soil has traditionally been described as the natural reservoir of B. pseudomallei (hence the synonym “soil bacteria”) (2,3). Symptoms and signs of melioidosis can be mild, but severe manifestations such as bacteremia, organ abscesses, and severe pneumonia can lead to high death rates (4).
Two reports from northern Australia and northeastern Thailand, both conducted in predominantly rural areas, found an increase in melioidosis cases after heavy rainfall or extreme weather events such as tropical storms or monsoons (5,6). In Singapore, however, the occurrence of melioidosis in association with climatic variations has not been extensively studied. Geographically, Singapore has an urbanization rate of 100%, in contrast to northeastern Thailand (34%) and northern Australia (55%) (7,8). Because soil is the presumptive reservoir for B. pseudomallei, exposure may be less common in an extensively developed, urban setting such as Singapore, but other environmental factors, such as humidity and temperature, might also influence the pathogenicity of B. pseudomallei. We investigated 550 cases of melioidosis that occurred during a 10-year period in Singapore to determine if climatic factors might be related to the epidemiology of this disease in an urban setting.
Ms. Liu is a medical student at Duke-NUS Medical School. Her research interests are infectious diseases and immunology.
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Suggested citation for this article: Liu X, Pang L, Sim SH, Goh KT, Ravikumar S, Win MS, et al. Association of melioidosis incidence with rainfall and humidity, Singapore, 2003–2012. Emerg Infect Dis. 2015 Jan [date cited]. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2101.140042
1These authors contributed equally to this article.