Top 5 Takeaways

  1. Burkholderia pseudomallei, the bacterium causing melioidosis, was detected in a raccoon carcass in Texas, linked to a multistate melioidosis outbreak from an imported aromatherapy spray.
  2. The raccoon, exposed to the contaminated spray, developed acute neurologic symptoms and died, leading to concerns about environmental contamination by the pathogen.
  3. Extensive environmental testing at the burial site revealed no evidence of B. pseudomallei in the soil or surrounding area, despite the raccoon testing positive for the bacterium.
  4. This incident marks the first reported presumed melioidosis case in a raccoon and the first animal case linked to this particular outbreak.
  5. The investigation highlights the importance of environmental assessments to prevent potential establishment of B. pseudomallei in non-endemic areas.

Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Julia K. Petras,, 404-639-3829.

Suggested Citation

Petras JK, Elrod MG, Ty M, et al. Notes from the Field: Burkholderia pseudomallei Detected in a Raccoon Carcass Linked to a Multistate Aromatherapy-Associated Melioidosis Outbreak — Texas, 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:1597–1598. DOI:


The article discusses a unique case where Burkholderia pseudomallei, responsible for melioidosis, was found in a raccoon carcass in Texas. This discovery was linked to a multistate outbreak caused by an imported aromatherapy spray. The raccoon had been exposed to the spray and subsequently exhibited neurological symptoms consistent with melioidosis before its death.


The investigation team conducted a detailed field necropsy of the raccoon carcass, collecting 12 tissue samples, particularly from intraorbital tissues to detect Burkholderia pseudomallei. Environmental sampling was extensive, with 32 samples gathered from the burial site and surrounding areas, including soil, tree roots, and stream water. These samples were strategically collected from various positions and depths around the carcass. After sampling, the site was decontaminated using a germicidal bleach solution for approximately 15 hours. Laboratory analysis of all collected samples involved polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for B. pseudomallei DNA and culture methods to check for bacterial viability. Additional testing by immunohistochemistry (IHC) was performed on formalin-fixed tissue samples at the CDC. This comprehensive approach aimed to assess both the presence of the bacterium in the raccoon and the risk of environmental contamination.


The findings underscore the adaptability of B. pseudomallei and its potential impact on wildlife, while also highlighting the importance of monitoring for environmental contamination, especially in regions where the bacterium is not endemic.


This case study emphasizes the need for vigilance in tracking potential vectors and reservoirs of infectious diseases like melioidosis, even in non-endemic areas. It also demonstrates the critical role of environmental testing in outbreak investigations.


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