Burkholderia pseudomallei is the causative agent of melioidosis, which is considered a potential deliberate release agent. The objective of this study was to establish and characterise a relevant, acute respiratory Burkholderia pseudomallei infection in BALB/c mice. Mice were infected with 100 B. pseudomallei strain BRI bacteria by the aerosol route (approximately 20 median lethal doses). Bacterial counts within lung, liver, spleen, brain, kidney and blood over 5 days were determined and histopathological and immunocytochemical profiles were assessed. Bacterial numbers in the lungs reached approximately 108 cfu/ml at day 5 post-infection. Bacterial numbers in other tissues were lower, reaching between 103 and 105 cfu/ml at day 4. Blood counts remained relatively constant at approximately 1.0 × 102 cfu/ml. Foci of acute inflammation and necrosis were seen within lungs, liver and spleen. These results suggest that the BALB/c mouse is highly susceptible to B. pseudomallei by the aerosol route and represents a relevant model system of acute human melioidosis
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