Report on the 2nd South Asian Melioidosis Congress

Introduction

The 2nd South Asian Melioidosis Congress was held at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel on 29th and 30th August. As its name implies, this was the second Congress on Melioidosis to be held in this region, involving countries like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan, to increase awareness about melioidosis.

Melioidosis is a neglected tropical disease that is frequently mis-or under-diagnosed in the region. Hence, the theme of the conference, “Unearthing a subterranean infection”. Revealing the hidden burden of infection requires the co-operation of a network of microbiologists, epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists, and public health personnel. The 2nd South Asian Melioidosis Congress aimed to allow researchers and clinical personnel to meet and learn from global experts on the disease and develop collaborations within and between countries in the region and groups overseas with the ultimate goal of reducing the morbidity and mortality of this potentially fatal infection.

Objectives

The objectives of the 2nd SAMC were:

  1. To raise awareness among clinicians, public health personnel, policy makers and the public of the burden of disease caused by melioidosis in South Asia.
  2. To disseminate knowledge and skills pertaining to melioidosis within the South Asian region
  3. To promote basic and applied research in melioidosis.
  4. To promote collaboration among clinicians and researchers in the region to study the epidemiology, clinical and laboratory diagnosis, management and prevention and control of melioidosis.

The target audience were Clinical Microbiologists, other Clinicians, Infectious Disease specialists, Laboratory personnel, Epidemiologists, Public Health personnel, Veterinarians, Policy makers and Researchers in Infectious Diseases.

Organising Committee

  • Patron: Prof Vasanthi Thevanesam (Sri Lanka)
  • Chairperson: Dr Enoka Corea (Sri Lanka)
  • Prof Chiranjay Mukhopadhayay (India)
  • Prof Tim Inglis (Australia)
  • Prof David Dance (Laos)
  • Dr Herbert Schweizer (US)
  • Dr Dharshan de Silva (Sri Lanka)
  • Dr Thushari Dissanayake (Sri Lanka)
  • Dr Nayomi Dhanthanarayana (Sri Lanka)
  • Dr Malika Karunaratne (Sri Lanka)
  • Ms Ranmalie Abeysekara (Sri Lanka)
  • Dr Muditha Abeykoon (Sri Lanka)

Programme

The academic progamme consisted of a series of lectures delivered by world renowned experts in all areas of melioidosis including history, epidemiology, clinical presentation, immune response, laboratory diagnosis, soil surveillance etc. International speakers from the USA, Netherlands, Australia, Austria, Thailand, India and Bangladesh were the resource persons at this conference. In addition, case presentations were presented by researchers from Sri Lanka, Malaysia and India. A “Meet the Expert” session where researchers and clinicians could meet and interact with the expert of their choice was held.

Twenty four e-posters were presented. First, second and third prizes were awarded to the poster presenters at a valedictory ceremony.

The schedule / programme of the 2nd SAMC is attached (Annexure 1).

Outcome

The 2nd SAMC was highly successful with the participation of 160 persons on the 29th August and 150 persons on the 30th August. This included 18 speakers from overseas, 2 local speakers, 2 observers from the region (from Nepal and Pakistan) and 4 Indian researchers who were awarded travel scholarships and a further 21 overseas registrants.

List of resource persons

  1. Tim Inglis Perth                Australia
  2. Adam Merrit Perth                Australia
  3. Natkunam Ketheesan Townsville       Australia
  4. David Dance Vientiane         Laos
  5. Ivo Steinmetz Vienna             Austria
  6. Joost Wiersinga Amsterdam     Netherlands
  7. Direk Limmathurotsakul Bangkok          Thailand
  8. Narisara Chandratita Bangkok          Thailand
  9. Ganjana Lertmemongkolchai Bangkok          Thailand
  10. Wirongrong Chierakul Bangkok Thailand
  11. Chiranjay Mukhopadhyay Manipal           India
  12. Vandana KE Manipal           India
  13. Chaitanya TAK Manipal           India
  14. Tushar Shaw Manipal           India
  15. Shariful Alam Jilani Dhaka              Bangladesh
  16. Herbert Schweitzer Florida             USA
  17. Apichai Tuanyok Florida             USA
  18. Mohan Natesan Maryland         USA
  19. Enoka Corea Colombo         Sri Lanka
  20. Dharshan de Silva Colombo         Sri Lanka

Any other important information

The Chief Guest for the opening ceremony was Dr Razia Pendse, WHO Representative in Sri Lanka.

The abstracts were reviewed by reviewers from the Sri Lankan Society for Microbiology (SSM).

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency provided travel awards to 5 speakers and 4 poster presenters.

Travel scholarships were given by the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA, to the following candidates.

Name: Dr RSC Vanlalruati Designation: Microbiologist Official Address: Civil hospital Lunglei, Mizoram. 796701

Name: Ms. Yamini Tawde, Designation: Research Scholar, Official Address: Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, India

Name: Dr. Vinaykumar Hallur, Designation: Assistant Professor, Microbiology, Official Address: AIIMS Bhubaneswar, India

Name: Dr. Bijayini Behera, Designation: Assistant Professor, Microbiology, Official Address: AIIMS Bhubaneswar, Indiam

Name: Dr Buddha Basnyat, Designation: Consultant Physician, Official Address: Patan Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal

Name: Dr Mohamed Usman, Designation: Consultant Microbiologist, Official Address: Shifa International Hospital, H-8/4, Islamabad, Pakistan