Epidemiology and Infection

Original Papers

Other infections

Spatial analysis of melioidosis distribution in a suburban area

M. L. CORKERONa1, R. NORTONa2 c1 and P. N. NELSONa3

a1 School of Natural Resource Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

a2 Pathology Queensland, Townsville Hospital, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

a3 School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia


Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis is associated with soil. This study used a geographic information system (GIS) to determine the spatial distribution of clinical cases of melioidosis in the endemic suburban region of Townsville in Australia. A total of 65 cases over the period 1996–2008 were plotted using residential address. Two distinct groupings were found. One was around the base of a hill in the city centre and the other followed the old course of a major waterway in the region. Both groups (accounting for 43 of the 65 cases examined) are in areas expected to have particularly wet topsoils following intense rainfall, due to soil type or landscape position.

(Accepted December 08 2009)

(Online publication January 22 2010)