Acute Disseminated Melioidosis Presenting with Septic Arthritis and Diffuse Pulmonary Consolidation in an Otherwise Healthy Adult: A Case Report


  • Hai Sherng Lee Monash University, Malaysia.
  • Abdul Azeez Ahamed Riyaaz Monash University, Malaysia.
  • Seng Hong Yeoh Monash University, Malaysia.



Abscess, Adult, Arthritis Infectious, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Melioidosis


Background: Melioidosis is an infectious disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei. It is most prevalent in South-East Asia, northern Australia, and the Indian subcontinent. Septic arthritis is a rare manifestation of melioidosis. Melioidosis is usually found in patients with diabetes, heavy alcohol use, or chronic lung disease.

Case: We report a case of melioidosis in an otherwise healthy 44-year-old male, who presented with acute painful left knee swelling, high-grade fever associated with chills, rigors and night sweats, and a productive cough. Examination revealed active synovitis with effusion involving his left knee, ankle and elbow joints and scattered crackles over both lung fields. Chest X-ray showed diffuse pulmonary consolidation. Abdominal ultrasound showed splenic micro-abscesses. The diagnosis was made based on a positive blood culture for Burkholderia pseudomallei. He was started on appropriate antibiotics and responded well, becoming afebrile after 48 hours, while his joint effusions disappeared after one week.

Conclusion: Septic arthritis only occurs in 4% of patients with melioidosis. When there is diffuse pulmonary involvement, melioidosis may mimic disseminated tuberculosis, sepsis syndromes, and systemic vasculitis syndromes. This case is relevant for medical literature as melioidosis is emerging and is expanding its territories worldwide. It should be considered early in the differential diagnoses in endemic areas so that treatment can be started early to reduce its high mortality and morbidity.


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Author Biography

Hai Sherng Lee, Monash University, Malaysia.

Dr Hai Sherng Lee is currently working at the Wollongong Hospital in New South Wa¬les, Australia. He graduated from Monash University and was awarded, in his final year, “Excellence in Pre-Intern Assessment” un¬der the Acute General Sur¬gery Unit at the School of Clinical Sciences, Monash Health, Victoria, Australia.


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How to Cite

Sherng Lee, H., Ahamed Riyaaz, A. A., & Hong Yeoh, S. (2015). Acute Disseminated Melioidosis Presenting with Septic Arthritis and Diffuse Pulmonary Consolidation in an Otherwise Healthy Adult: A Case Report. International Journal of Medical Students, 3(1), 59–62.



Case Report