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Sabah Health Department detects 44 melioidosis cases

ANN/THE STAR – The Sabah Health Department confirmed the detection of active Burkholderia pseudomallei bacteria at a rugby field in Tanjung Aru in Sabah, Malaysia.

The bacteria is a causative agent of melioidosis, an infectious disease that could lead to death if not treated early.

According to Sabah health director Datuk Dr Asits Sanna, they were notified of the case on March 11 after a player came in sick after playing at the rugby field. “The patient disclosed that he was suffering a leg injury while playing rugby, and we believe that may have caused the infection,” said Dr Asits, in a statement, yesterday responding to a Facebook posting over the issuance of an Environmental Control for Melioidosis Infection Disease at the rugby field.

Dr Asits added that as of the 14th Epidemiology Week (ME) this year, the department registered a total of 44 melioidosis cases across the state, which is an increase of 12.8 per cent, compared to 39 cases recorded during the same period last year. “Sandakan tops the list of the most recorded cases with 12 incidences, followed by Kota Kinabalu (11), five each in Papar and Penampang, and two each in Sipitang and Keningau,” he said.

Melioidosis, also called Whitmore’s disease, is an infectious disease that can infect humans or animals and is caused by the Burkholderia pseudomallei bacteria, which is found in contaminated soil and water.

Infection often occurs during the rainy season.

Sabah Health Department medical personnel collecting samples. PHOTO: THE STAR