A 40-yr-old male captive chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) presented with depression and anorexia for 7 days. The tentative diagnosis, following a physical examination under anesthesia, was pneumonia with sepsis. Despite antibiotic treatment and supportive care the chimpanzee died a week following presentation. Gross pathology confirmed severe purulent pneumonia and diffuse hepatosplenic abscesses. Detected in serum at the time of the initial examination, the melioidosis serum antibody titer was elevated (>1:512). Soil samples were collected from three sites in the exhibit at three depths of 5, 15, and 30 cm. By direct and enrichment culture, positive cultures for Burkholderia pseudomallei were found at 5 and 15 cm in one site. The other two sites were positive by enrichment culture at the depth of 5 cm. To prevent disease in the remaining seven troop members, they were relocated to permit a soil treatment with calcium oxide. The exhibit remained empty for approximately 1 yr before the chimpanzees were returned. During that period, the soil in the exhibit area was again cultured as before and all samples were negative for B. pseudomallei. Following the soil treatment in the exhibit, all chimpanzees have remained free of clinical signs consistent with melioidosis.
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