A 54 year old Bangladeshi man presented with a history and chest X-ray appearances suggestive of pulmonary tuberculosis. Following deterioration 4 weeks later, he required ventilation. Although a blood culture isolate was subsequently found to be Pseudomonas pseudomallei, it was initially misidentified and dismissed as a contaminant. Further cultures demonstrated the organism, but the patient died, despite treatment with ceftazidime. The case illustrates the importance of taking a detailed travel history and having a high index of suspicion in patients from South East Asia and the Indian sub-continent, including Bangladesh, where the disease has not previously been considered endemic.
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