Burkholderia pseudomallei, the aetiological agent of
melioidosis, causes a serious and often fatal disease in humans and animals.
Novel medical countermeasures (MCMs) are urgently needed for both public health
and biodefense purposes.
A new study published this month in the Journal of
Applied Microbiology for the first time examines the virulence and
pathogenicity of aerosolised B. pseudomallei, strain NCTC 13392, in mice.
The research furthers efforts to advance animal models for
testing novel MCMs for treatment of human acute and subacute melioidosis prior
to human clinical trials.
In the study, the mice were exposed to varying doses of aerosolised
bacteria. Acute disease was seen in animals exposed to a very‐high
dose (≥103 cfu per
animal) and death occurred 3‐4 days post‐challenge. Bacteria
were detected in the lungs, liver, kidney and spleen. By contrast, animals
exposed to a low dose (<10 cfu per animal) survived to the end of the study
(day 30 pc) but developed weight loss, a bacterial tissue burden and increasing
clinical signs of infection from day 20 pc onwards, mimicking a subacute form
of the disease. Pathological changes in the tissues mirrored these findings.
By varying the doses of aerosolised bacteria it was possible
to mimic characteristics of both human acute and subacute melioidosis, at the
same time, within the same study.
Dose‐dependant acute or subacute
disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei strain NCTC 13392 in a BALB/c
aerosol model of infection. Journal of Applied Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.1111/jam.14396.