Burkholderia cepacia is an aerobic gram-negative bacillus found in various aquatic environments. B cepacia is an organism of low virulence and is a frequent colonizer of fluids used in the hospital (eg, irrigation solutions, intravenous fluids). B cepacia rarely causes infection in healthy hosts. Based on phenotypic and genotypic analyses, B cepacia is divided into 9 genomovars that constitute the B cepacia complex (BCC).
B cepacia is almost always a colonizing organism rather than an infecting organism, but it may be important when isolated from body fluids that are ordinarily sterile. The pathophysiology of B cepacia infection mirrors that of other nonfermentative aerobic gram-negative bacilli.
B cepacia is ordinarily not a pathogen in the ambulatory setting, but it may colonize and/or infect the respiratory tract of patients with cystic fibrosis or bronchiectasis. B cepacia may also cause central venous catheter–related infections in patients with cancer and in those on hemodialysis. B cepacianosocomial pneumonia has rarely been reported, usually in patients treated with fluoroquinolones and ceftazidime. Skin and soft-tissue infections, surgical-wound infections, and genitourinary tract infections with B cepacia have also been reported.
B cepacia is generally not a pathogen in the ambulatory setting, but it may colonize and/or infect the respiratory tract of patients with cystic fibrosis or bronchiectasis.
If an intravenous infusate contains high numbers of B cepacia, direct injection into the bloodstream may result in gram-negative bacteremia.
Mortality and morbidity is highest in those with impaired pulmonary function (eg, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, chronic granulomatosis disease).
Burkholderia has no racial predisposition.
Burkholderia has no age predisposition.