Expanded range of Multi Locus Sequence Type ST46 into northern Australia

Investigating and understanding a potential increase in the geographic range of melioidosis

This project looks at the expanded range of Multi Locus Sequence Type (MLST) ST46, a South East Asian Burkholderia pseudomallei strain, into northern Australia.

The focus of the research project is to further investigate and understand a potential increase in the geographic range for Burkholderia pseudomallei. Defining the global and local distribution of environmental B. pseudomallei is important for the development of a risk map for melioidosis, which in turn will help provide countries with new information to take preventive measures as well as raising awareness of this disease among healthcare workers in affected areas.

Environmental sampling can be used to identify areas where people are at risk even before cases are recognised. A recent finding of ST46 amongst human cases in the DPMS has again raised the question about an Asian strain being present in northern Australia and cause for more investigation. ST46 appears to be widespread in Asia but not in Australia, it has been found in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Menzies plans to perform typing on Bp isolated from environmental sources near the location of the ST46 human melioidosis cases. If no ST46 Bp isolates are found Menzies will perform targeted sampling to identify potential niche locations for ST46. This project will be carried out under the supervision of Mark Mayo and Prof Bart Currie from the melioidosis research program.

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