While the bacterial strains that infected the patients in the US appear to be “most closely related to strains found in Asia,” none of the afflicted had “travelled internationally,” according to CDC.

A new case of a rare and potentially lethal infectious disease known as melioidosis has been reported in the United States by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In a statement released on 9 August, CDC said that the new fatal case was discovered in Georgia and that it’s “linked to three previous cases in different states.

According to Live Science, the four melioidosis cases in question were identified between March and July; two of the four patients died while the other two “were hospitalised for long periods of time.”

Only “around a dozen” of melioidosis cases are identified in the US each year, with the infected usually being people “travellers and immigrants coming from places where the disease is widespread,” CDC states on its website, noting that the only places in the US where the bacterium that causes the disease occurs naturally are Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

However, none of the four patients who were diagnosed with melioidosis this year “had travelled internationally,” even though the bacterial strains that sickened them appear to closely match each other, “suggesting there is a common source for these cases”, CDC said. The agency added that the strains in question “appear most closely related to strains found in Asia, particularly South Asia.”

“Currently, CDC believes the most likely cause is an imported product (such as a food or drink, personal care or cleaning products or medicine) or an ingredient in one of those types of products,” the statement issued by the agency said.