Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia mallei are gram-negative bacilli that are the causative agents of melioidosis and glanders, respectively. Both humans and animals are susceptible to both diseases. There is currently no vaccine available for the prevention of disease. We report the protective efficacy of heat-inactivated Burkholderia thailandensis, B. mallei or B. pseudomallei cells as vaccines against murine melioidosis and glanders. Immunisation with heat-inactivated B. pseudomallei cells provided the highest levels of protection against either melioidosis or glanders. These studies indicate the longer term potential for heat-inactivated bacteria to be developed as vaccines against melioidosis and glanders. Crown Copyright © 2009.