7/5/21 – Health Advisory: Melioidosis Cases Not Associated with Travel Outside the United States & COVID-19 Update for Providers

doctor holding clipboard

Requested actions

Background on melioidosis

Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Texas Department of State Health Services and Minnesota Department of Health are investigating—with assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—3 cases of B. pseudomallei infection (melioidosis). The first case, identified in March 2021, was fatal. Authorities identified 2 more cases in May 2021. None of the patients traveled outside the continental United States. Genomic analysis of the strains suggests a common source, like an imported product or animal. To date, authorities have not identified the source.

Symptoms of melioidosis are varied and nonspecific and may include pneumonia, abscess formation and/or blood infection. Because of its nonspecific symptoms, melioidosis can initially be mistaken for other diseases, like tuberculosis, delaying proper treatment. The 3 patients initially presented with a range of symptoms, including cough, shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, intermittent fever and rash on the trunk, abdomen and face, later diagnosed as infectious encephalitis.

Transmission typically occurs through direct contact with contaminated soil or water through a wound, inhalation of soil dust or ingestion or aspiration of contaminated water. Percutaneous inoculation is likely the most frequent route for natural infection. Melioidosis is not considered to transmit from person to person. Laboratory workers who handle B. pseudomallei cultures are at risk, as particles may become aerosolized.

See CDC’s Health Advisory for more information.

Promote COVID-19 vaccine

Over 99% of the people who died from COVID-19 in the U.S. in May 2021 were unvaccinated. Nearly every death from COVID-19 was preventable. Yet, misinformation and misperceptions of COVID-19 vaccine are rampant. As new variants circulate in the community and the state reopens, there is an increased risk of more cases of severe illness. It is more important than ever to get people fully vaccinated. An NPR/Ipsos poll found 85% of people trust their healthcare provider most for information about COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or personal beliefs. You are uniquely positioned to help people feel confident that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

Additional vaccine resources

COVID-19 testing

We have test kits for you. Abbott Laboratories extended all BinaxNOW tests’ shelf life to 12 months. See Abbott’s BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Product Expiry Update for new expiration dates by lot number.

COVID-19 test processing

Labs report varying amounts of time to process COVID-19 tests. To support faster turnaround, we encourage providers to use in-state labs. The table below shows COVID-19 test processing times for in-state private labs.

FidaLab 24-48 hours 500
Kaiser 24 hours 600-700
LabCorp 24-48 hours Unknown
Northwest Pathology 24-48 hours 20,000
Quest 24-48 hours 700
UW Virology 18-24 hours 6,000-8,000
Atlas Genomic 16 hours 10,000

Patient education

Share the following materials with patients.

Additional resources