A potentially deadly bacteria was found for the first time in water and soil samples in the United States, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to alert doctors and public health experts throughout the country on Wednesday to take it into consideration when examining patients.
The bacteria, Burkholderia pseudomallei, was detected in the Gulf Coast region of Southern Mississippi. Exposure to the bacteria can cause melioidosis, a “rare and serious disease,” according to the C.D.C.; about one in every 4,600 people exposed are found to have the disease.
The samples show that the bacteria has been present in the Mississippi region since at least 2020, when one person in the Gulf Coast region was found to have melioidosis, though it is unclear exactly how long Burkholderia pseudomallei, also known as B. pseudomallei, has been in the area.