Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 151–154 | Cite as

Melioidosis mimicking miliary tuberculosis

  • Ran Zhi TanEmail author
  • Faridah Mohd Nor
  • Swarhib Shafie
  • Lii Jye Tan
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Melioidosis is an infectious disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei, a gram-negative intracellular bacillus. Tuberculosis, also an infectious disease, is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, an acid fast bacillus. In both diseases, patients commonly present with fever and respiratory symptoms due to sepsis which might lead to respiratory failure or sudden death if left untreated. Not only are these two entities similar in clinical presentation, but the autopsy findings may mimic each other, giving rise to difficulties in determining the cause of death. We report a case of melioidosis and compare it to a typical case of miliary tuberculosis. Similarities between the cases on gross and histopathological examinations are discussed. In such circumstances, microbiological culture of bodily fluids and internal organs should be performed to ascertain the correct cause of death.


Melioidosis Miliary tuberculosis Burkholderia pseudomallei Forensic 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors hereby disclose that there are no financial and personal relationships with any other people or organizations that could inappropriately influence (bias) their work. Examples of potential conflicts of interest include employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony, patent applications/registrations, and grants or other funding.

Ethical approval and informed consent

Compliance with Ethical Standards Editorial.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ran Zhi Tan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Faridah Mohd Nor
    • 1
  • Swarhib Shafie
    • 1
  • Lii Jye Tan
    • 1
  1. 1.Forensic Unit, Department of PathologyUniversiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical CentreKuala LumpurMalaysia

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