(redirected from Whitmore disease)
Also found in: Dictionary, Medical.


(veterinary medicine)
An endemic bacterial disease, primarily of rodents but occasionally communicable to humans, caused by Pseudomonas pseudomallei and characterized by infectious granulomas.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(pneumoenteritis, pseudoglanders), an acute infectious zoonotic disease.

The causative agent of melioidosis is the microorganism Malleomyces pseudomallei, which is similar to the glanders bacillus in antigenic and morphological properties and is pathogenic for rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, mice, dogs, and sheep. Rats, the main reservoir of infection, excrete the causative agent with their urine and feces. Under natural conditions, melioidosis is transmitted from animal to animal by the ingestion of food infected with the discharges of the diseased rats.

Melioidosis is found in Southeast Asia, Australia, and Madagascar. Cases have occurred in the USA, Indonesia, and the Philippine Islands. No verifiable cases of melioidosis in man have been recorded on the territory of the USSR. Infection from humans affected with the disease has not been observed. Melioidosis is transmitted from sick animals through food or water. The condition is manifested by diverse symptoms resembling those of glanders, plague, cholera, and certain other diseases. Preventive measures include exterminating rats and protecting food products and drinking water from contamination with the excretions of diseased animals. Hospitalization of the patient is imperative. The focus of the disease should be disinfected.


Melioidosis in animals may be acute, subacute, or chronic. In sheep and goats symptoms of the disease include cough, polyarthritis, and affection of the prescapular lymph nodes. In dogs, cats, and rodents, symptoms include diarrhea, purulent conjunctivitis, vaginitis, and rhinitis, with the formation of irregularly shaped ulcers and abscessed lymph nodes. Cachexia develops. Diagnosis of the condition is made on the basis of the clinical symptoms, autopsy, and bacteriological examination. A specific course of treatment has not yet been developed, and attempts to cure the diseased animals have proved ineffective.

Melioidosis can be prevented in animals by exterminating rodents, the principal natural reservoir of the infection. When an animal is suspected of having contracted the disease, it should be isolated and subjected to bacteriological examination. If the condition is confirmed, the animal should be killed and cremated, with care taken to avoid infection.


Epizootologiia. Edited by R. F. Sosov. Moscow, 1969.
Rudnev, G. P. Antropozoonozy. Moscow, 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.