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Melioidosis, a difficult to diagnose deadly bacterial disease, is likely to be present in many more countries than previously thought, reports a paper published online today in the journal Nature Microbiology. The study predicts that melioidosis is present in 79 countries, including 34 that have never reported the disease.

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It recommends that health workers and policy makers give melioidosis a higher priority, and expects the number of melioidosis cases to rise as diabetes increases across the tropics, especially among the poor, and international travel increases the risk of introducing the pathogen to new areas.

'Although melioidosis has been recognised for more than 100 years, awareness of it is still low, even among medical and laboratory staff in cionfirmed endemic areas,' said study co-author Dr. Direk Limmathurotsakul, Head of Microbiology at MORU and Assistant Professor at Mahidol University (Thailand).

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