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Burkholderia pseudomallei is the causative agent of melioidosis, which is considered a potential deliberate release agent. The objective of this study was to establish and characterise a relevant, acute respiratory Burkholderia pseudomallei infection in BALB/c mice. Mice were infected with 100 B. pseudomallei strain BRI bacteria by the aerosol route (approximately 20 median lethal doses). Bacterial counts within lung, liver, spleen, brain, kidney and blood over 5 days were determined and histopathological and immunocytochemical profiles were assessed. Bacterial numbers in the lungs reached approximately 10(8) cfu/ml at day 5 post-infection. Bacterial numbers in other tissues were lower, reaching between 10(3) and 10(5) cfu/ml at day 4. Blood counts remained relatively constant at approximately 1.0 x 10(2) cfu/ml. Foci of acute inflammation and necrosis were seen within lungs, liver and spleen. These results suggest that the BALB/c mouse is highly susceptible to B. pseudomallei by the aerosol route and represents a relevant model system of acute human melioidosis.

Original publication





International journal of experimental pathology

Publication Date





16 - 25


Biomedical Sciences, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Porton Down, Salisbury, UK.


Lung, Animals, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Melioidosis, Pneumonia, Bacterial, Respiratory Tract Infections, Hepatitis, Animal, Disease Models, Animal, Acute Disease, Aerosols, Colony Count, Microbial, Virulence, Female