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Ultrasonography revealed evidence of liver abscess in 126 patients who were admitted to one hospital in northeastern Thailand over a 3-year period. There were 50 cases for which a pyogenic bacterial etiology was confirmed; 34 cases (group 1) were caused by Pseudomonas pseudomallei (nine patients died) and 16 cases (group 2) were caused by other bacteria (two patients died). Melioidosis was associated with anemia and underlying diabetes or renal disease; right-upper-quadrant pain and jaundice were more common in group 2 (P less than .05). Blood cultures were positive for bacteria in 68% of group 1 and 50% of group 2. Chest radiographs revealed abnormalities in 17 of 30 group 1 patients and 6 of 12 group 2 patients. The radiographic appearances of a blood-borne pneumonia suggested melioidosis. The serum indirect hemagglutination assay for antibodies to P. pseudomallei was of limited value in differentiating the two types of abscesses. Multiple hypoechoic areas on ultrasonography were significantly associated with melioidosis (P less than .01); associated splenic abscess occurred in 19 group 1 patients but only one group 2 patient (2-107, 95% confidence interval; odds ratio, 19). In an area where P. pseudomallei is endemic, these characteristic ultrasonographic findings should prompt immediate treatment for melioidosis.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Infect Dis

Publication Date





412 - 417


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Child, Female, Humans, Liver Abscess, Male, Melioidosis, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Treatment Outcome, Ultrasonography