Neurotropic threat characterization of Burkholderia pseudomallei strains

Jodie Morris, Anne Fane, Catherine Rush, Brenda Govan, Mark Mayo, Bart Currie, Natkunam Ketheesan

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The death rate for neurologic melioidosis is high. Whether certain Burkholderia pseudomallei strains are more likely than other strains to cause central nervous system infection and whether route of infection influences the neurotropic threat remain unclear. Therefore, we compared the virulence and dissemination of Australian clinical isolates collected during October 1989-October 2012 from patients with neurologic and nonneurologic melioidosis after intranasal and subcutaneous infection of mice in an experimental model. We did not observe neurotropism as a unique characteristic of isolates from patients with neurologic melioidsis. Rather, a distinct subset of B. pseudomallei strains appear to have heightened pathogenic potential for rapid dissemination to multiple tissues, including the central nervous system, irrespective of the infection route. This finding has valuable public health ramifications for initiating appropriate and timely therapy after exposure to systemically invasive B. pseudomallei strains. Increasing understanding of B. pseudomallei pathology and its influencing factors will further reduce illness and death from this disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-63
Number of pages6
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


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