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Health Department confirms melioidosis case at Tanjung Aru rugby field
Published on: Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Health Department confirms melioidosis case at Tanjung Aru rugby field
Burkholderia pseudomallei that causes melioidosis. - Pic by University of Cambridge
KOTA KINABALU: The State Health Department has confirmed a case of melioidosis at the Tanjung Aru rugby field, here.

State Health Director Datuk Dr Asits Sanna said the case was reported on March 11.

"Soil samples were taken in the locality based on the patient’s movements, who had played rugby on the field," he said in a statement on Saturday.

"A sample tested positive for Burkholderia pseudomallei bacteria, which is the causative agent of melioidosis.

"The patient has a history of leg injury while playing rugby that may have caused the infection."

As of the 14th Epidemiology Week (ME) of this year, 44 cases of melioidosis have been registered statewide.

This marks an increase of 12.8 per cent compared to the number of cases reported during the same ME in 2023, which was 39 cases.

The six districts with the highest reported cases of melioidosis were Sandakan (12), Kota Kinabalu (11), Papar (5), Penampang (5), with two cases each in Sipitang and Keningau.

Melioidosis is a disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei bacteria found in water and soil.

Humans can become infected with this disease when directly exposed to contaminated soil and water sources.

Infections often occur, especially during the rainy season.

Transmission of infection can occur through the respiratory tract (dust or droplets of contaminated water), drinking contaminated water, or through skin wounds.

High-risk groups include individuals suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, thalassaemia, cancer, or other conditions that compromise the immune system.

"Symptoms that may be experienced include high fever, joint pain, cough, chest pain, scabies, boils, pus, headache, lack of appetite, and overall body lethargy.

"The disease can be treated with certain antibiotics," said Asits.

Early treatment with antibiotics is necessary to prevent patients, especially those at high risk, from developing more severe infections and to prevent death.

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