Watch Now - VALIDATE Seminar: One Health and a retrospective study of laboratory – based melioidosis surveillance in Songkhla and Phatthalung Provinces of southern Thailand, 2014 – 2020


About the Seminar: A talk followed by an open forum/Q&A

It is well-recognized that melioidosis is endemic in most parts of Thailand. However, the prevalence of melioidosis in humans and animals, and the occurrence of its pathogen, Burkholderia pseudomallei, in the natural environment of southern Thailand has not been updated for long time. Dr Tuanyok led a project that used a “One Health” approach and multidisciplinary research to investigate the epidemiology of melioidosis in southern Thailand. The lab had been collecting B. pseudomallei isolates from human and animal cases, and soils in two southern provinces, Songkhla and Phatthalung, since January 2014. All culture-confirmed B. pseudomallei isolates from patients admitted to tertiary care hospitals in both provinces were further tested by real-time PCR assays. They have also investigated the presence of B. pseudomallei in soil and water, especially in farming areas and a local zoo where animal cases have been reported. They confirmed at least 473 melioidosis cases from humans, a one-year-long outbreak in a local zoo, and multiple incidences of melioidosis in animal farms, as well as, the presence of B. pseudomallei in soil and water in Songkhla during 2014-2020. The infections were most likely seasonal and associated with rainfall. Genetic analysis using multi-locus sequencing typing (MLST) has indicated that most recent isolates had the same STs as those from the Finkelstein historic collection from southern Thailand a half-century ago. Over seven years of the study, the average annual incidence of human melioidosis was 3.4 per 100,000 population with 40% mortality. They confirmed that these two provinces of southern Thailand are endemic for melioidosis; even though the incidence rate is much lower than that of the Northeast, the mortality rate is comparable. We believe that implementing the “One Health” approach would provide a current situation of B. pseudomallei infections in humans and animals, as well as its occurrence in the environment in southern Thailand that forms an integral part of the regional threat assessment of Thailand and Southeast Asia.     


About the Speaker

Dr Apichai Tuanyok is an Associate Professor at the University of Florida, USA. He has been working on various aspects of Burkholderia pseudomallei and its disease, melioidosis, since 2002 when he was a postdoc in Dr Donald Woods' laboratory in Calgary, Canada. Apichai moved to the United States in 2006 to join the Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics, Northern Arizona University as a senior postdoc, and then was promoted to Assistant Research Professor in Biological Sciences. Since that time, he has built his independent research program, including serving as the PI and co-PI on multiple studies funded by federal agencies including NIH/NIAID-PSWRCE, DHS, DTRA, and BARDA. He has published at least 60 peer-review papers on genomic-proteomic analyses, diagnostics, drug resistance, animal models, carbohydrate research, immunology, and environmental microbiology of B. pseudomallei. He was recruited by the University of Florida under the preeminence professorship program in 2014 to develop the Burkholderia Laboratory at the Emerging Pathogens Institute.



Apichai Tuanyok

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Time 15:00 07:00 09:00 10:00 16:00 16:00 17:00 20:30 21:00 22:00