U.S. logs fourth case of rare tropical disease as CDC investigates

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logo at headquarters
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the fourth case this year of a rare tropical disease.
(David Goldman / Associated Press)

U.S. health officials are investigating the latest fatal case of a rare tropical disease typically found in South Asia.

An unidentified person who died last month in Georgia was the fourth U.S. case this year of melioidosis, which is caused by a bacterium that lives in soil and water, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

None of the cases from Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota or Texas were in people who had traveled internationally, puzzling experts. The CDC said two of the four people died.


Federal health officials sent an alert about the latest case to doctors, asking them to consider melioidosis if they come across a bacterial infection that doesn’t respond to antibiotics — even if the patient has not traveled outside the country. The CDC said the infection is treatable if caught early and treated correctly.

Though the illnesses were found in different states at different times, the agency said lab analyses showed the infections were closely related.