The bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei causes melioidosis, which is mainly associated with tropical areas. We analyzed single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) among genome sequences from isolates of B. pseudomallei that originated in the Western Hemisphere by comparing them with genome sequences of isolates that originated in the Eastern Hemisphere. Analysis indicated that isolates from the Western Hemisphere form a distinct clade, which supports the hypothesis that these isolates were derived from a constricted seeding event from Africa. Subclades have been resolved that are associated with specific regions within the Western Hemisphere and suggest that isolates might be correlated geographically with cases of melioidosis. One isolate associated with a former World War II prisoner of war was believed to represent illness 62 years after exposure in Southeast Asia. However, analysis suggested the isolate originated in Central or South America.
Journal: Emerging infectious diseases