Bacterium that causes rare but dangerous disease likely endemic along Gulf Coast, CDC says

Disease detectives investigating a pair of medical mysteries in Mississippi have come to an unwelcome conclusion. The bacterium that causes a rare but dangerous disease called melioidosis is likely endemic in parts of the southern United States, along the Gulf Coast.

The bacterium, Burkholderia pseudomallei, was previously not thought to be found in the U.S., meaning people who had symptoms similar to those of melioidosis but who had no history of international travel were considered unlikely to be infected with it. That assumption is no longer sound — or safe, said experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which on Wednesday issued a health alert to physicians.

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