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We have evaluated prospectively the contribution of bone marrow culture to the diagnosis of melioidosis. Bone marrow (BMC) and blood cultures (BC) were collected concurrently from 105 patients with suspected acute, severe melioidosis. 67 patients were subsequently proved to have the disease whilst other significant organisms were isolated from these specimens in 5 cases. Overall, 67.2% of BC and 64.2% of BMC from melioidosis patients grew Pseudomonas pseudomallei. Time to positivity did not differ significantly in paired BC and BMC specimens. These results do not support the routine use of BMC in the diagnosis of acute, severe melioidosis. In one patient with pulmonary melioidosis, however, blood cultures were repeatedly negative, whilst bone marrow grew P. pseudomallei, and this preceded the development of a distant focus of infection. This suggests that culture of bone-marrow may be of value in certain blood culture-negative patients with melioidosis.

Original publication




Journal article


Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg

Publication Date





585 - 587


Acute Disease, Bone Marrow, Humans, Melioidosis, Prospective Studies, Pseudomonas