‘Vietnam time bomb’ should be considered in pneumonia patients

In a study of 624 melioidosis patients at Royal Darwin Hospital spanning 21 years, Professor Bart Currie found that 51% presented with pneumonia as the primary diagnosis. 

The risk factors for primary pneumonia caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei included heart disease, COPD, smoking and diabetes, he found.

Professor Currie, from the Menzies School of Health Research, showed that those with pneumonia more frequently had bacteraemia, developed septic shock and died.

Twenty per cent of patients with primary pneumonia died compared to 8% with other primary presentations, he found.

B. pseudomallei should be considered in pneumonia patients in northern Australia and in returning travellers and immigrants from other endemic countries, he said.

“It is therefore important that empirical community-acquired pneumonia treatment guidelines used in melioidosis-endemic areas include antibiotics effective against B. pseudomallei,