A new study published in Nature Microbiology finds that a deadly bacteria known as Burkholderia pseudomallei is much more widely distributed than previously thought. This bacteria causes a disease called Melioidosis which has a fatality rate of 70% and is now estimated to result in 90,000 fatalities per year, about the same as measles and more than dengue. The bacteria is most common in the tropics with high prevalence of disease on Northern Thailand where nearly half the population has been infected at some point in their life. The bacteria and disease commonly go undiagnosed because the disease presents generic symptoms common to most bacterial infections and most labs in the afflicted countries do not have the technical tools necessary to detect the bacteria. The most common mode of infection is contact between contaminated water/soil and a cut or scrape. Surprisingly, researchers found that this bacteria was able to remain viable for 16 years in distilled water with no access to energy for nutrients, indicating the ability for extreme persistence in environmental water and soil conditions.