Melioidosis, also called Whitmore’s disease, is a serious and life-threatening disease caused by an infection of the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei (B. pseudomallei). The disease is common in Southeast Asia and has been noted sporadically in other regions of the world.

Individuals can become infected with B. pseudomallei from coming into contact with contaminated soil or water through eating or drinking, breathing in dust containing the bacterium, or through cuts on the skin. Infections are more common during periods of high rainfall.


An infection with B. pseudomallei may not cause any illness or can cause a range of mild to severe symptoms.

The most common symptoms of melioidosis include:

  1. Fever
  2. Cough
  3. Chest pain
  4. Headache
  5. Muscle or joint pain


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)