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Burkholderia pseudomallei is the causative agent of the disease melioidosis, which is prevalent in tropical countries and is intractable to a number of antibiotics. In this study, the antibiotic co-trimoxazole (trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole) was assessed for the post-exposure prophylaxis of experimental infection in mice with B. pseudomallei and its close phylogenetic relative Burkholderia mallei, the causative agent of glanders. Co-trimoxazole was effective against an inhalational infection with B. pseudomallei or B. mallei. However, oral co-trimoxazole delivered twice daily did not eradicate infection when administered from 6h post exposure for 14 days or 21 days, since infected and antibiotic-treated mice succumbed to infection following relapse or immunosuppression. These data highlight the utility of co-trimoxazole for prophylaxis both of B. pseudomallei and B. mallei and the need for new approaches for the treatment of persistent bacterial infection.

Original publication





International journal of antimicrobial agents

Publication Date





552 - 557


Biomedical Sciences Department, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 0JQ, UK.


Animals, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Burkholderia mallei, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Glanders, Melioidosis, Disease Models, Animal, Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole Combination, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Treatment Outcome, Chemoprevention, Administration, Oral, Inhalation Exposure, Female, Post-Exposure Prophylaxis