Melioidosis on the rise in Sabah

A melioidosis case was detected at a rugby field at Tanjung Aru, Sabah Sabah Health Department confirmed.

Melioidosis is a bacterial infection that spreads to humans and animals through a direct contact with contaminated source.

“One sample was found positive for the bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis.

“The patient reported having sustained a wound on his leg while playing rugby, which may have led to the infection,” Sabah State Health director Datuk Dr Asits Sanna said in a statement via Facebook.

A total of 44 cases of melioidosis have been reported across the state of Sabah.

This clearly marks an increase of 12.8% compared to the number of cases reported in the same period in 2023, which was 39 cases according to the statement.

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

“Humans can become infected when directly exposed to soil and water sources contaminated with the bacteria. Infections most commonly occur during the rainy season.

“Transmission can occur through respiratory routes (contaminated dust or droplets), drinking contaminated water, or through skin wounds.

“Those at high risk include individuals with chronic conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, thalassemia, cancer, or other immune-compromising conditions,” he said.

Symptoms may include high fever, joint pain, cough, chest pain, ulcers, boils, pus, headache, loss of appetite, and general fatigue.

He also said that the disease can be treated with specific antibiotics, and early treatment with antibiotics is crucial to prevent more severe infections and death in high-risk individuals.

The Health Ministry recommends avoiding contact with polluted soil and water, especially for those with skin injuries or chronic ailments such as diabetes and kidney disease.

“Other control measures include wearing waterproof shoes, gloves, and face masks for those engaged in activities exposed to contaminated soil and water,” he further advised.

Any wounds on the body should be thoroughly cleaned and covered. Seek immediate treatment if experiencing fever or symptoms after exposure to contaminated soil or water