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Land management practices influence life of soil bacteriums

Burkholderia pseudomallei, which causes the emerging infectious disease melioidosis in humans and animals, is associated with land management changes

Burkholderia pseudomallei lives in tropical soil and is endemic in southeast Asia and northern Australia, where it can be a common cause of fatal community-acquired bacterial pneumonia. In predisposed hosts such as those with diabetes, it can also lead to systemic sepsis, with mortality rates over 50%.

At undisturbed sites, B. pseudomallei was primarily found in close proximity to streams and in grass-rich areas, whereas at environmentally disturbed sites, B. pseudomallei was associated with the presence of livestock animals, lower soil pH and irrigation. Highest B. pseudomallei counts were retrieved from paddocks, pens and kennels holding livestock and dogs.

"These findings raise concerns that B. pseudomallei may spread due to the influence of land management changes- Mirjam Kaestli - This would increase the risk of human and livestock exposure to these potentially deadly bacteria which are transmitted by contact with contaminated soil or surface water through cuts in the skin or inhalation."

by S. C.
02 february 2009, Technical Area > Science News

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