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Melioidosis in Mexico: Baja California Sur

19 Feb 2024

According to media, public health authorities in Baja California Sur have reported 5 cases of melioidosis, including 4 deaths, between November 2023 and 12 February 2024.

Melioidosis is a serious disease caused by bacteria found in surface soil during heavy rain. Infection occurs by contamination of a wound, inhalation or ingesting contaminated food/water. Human to human transmission is extremely rare.

Contact with mud, puddles and wind-blown soil during heavy rain increases the risk of infection. Symptoms include cough, skin ulcers, fever, headache, confusion, difficulty in passing urine, joint pain or swelling and bone pain. People with underlying medical conditions are at highest risk. Melioidosis requires immediate treatment with antibiotics.

Advice for Travellers

You can be infected by walking in muddy water, handling muddy items, or breathing air-borne particles for example when using a high-powered hoses.

You should take precautions against the disease by:

  • Staying indoors during heavy winds and rain.

  • Wearing waterproof shoes and gloves around mud and areas of pooled water.

  • Wearing masks when using high pressure hoses outside.

  • Avoiding swimming in affected areas.

  • Avoiding food and water that may have been contaminated.