Modeling Environmental Suitability for Establishment of Burkholderia pseudomallei in Texas
Burkholderia pseudomallei is a soil- and water-borne bacterial pathogen that is the etiological agent of the disease melioidosis. Melioidosis is prevalent in the tropics and agricultural workers are amongst those at risk because of the potential of their work to contact contaminated soils. In addition, disease occurrence is increasingly being reported in regions north and south of the tropics and in 2019 Texas was declared endemic for melioidosis by the CDC. In this project we are using GIS software to process, analyze, and map data pertaining to melioidosis occurrence and factors such as climate and soil conditions that permit survival of the organism in different environmental niches. Keys aims of our research are to identify geographical regions where B. pseudomallei may be present in the environment but not yet detected in Texas and elsewhere in the world; and to predict where the organism might be able to spread and become established in the future. The automation of the research workflow through the use of Python using scripted processes allows these maps to be updated as new data become available such as reports of disease occurrence.