Infection with Burkholderia cepacia complex in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) results in highly variable clinical outcomes. The purpose of this study was to determine if there are genomovar-specific disparities in transmission and disease severity. B. cepacia complex was recovered from 62 patients with CF on > or =1 occasions (genomovar III, 46 patients; genomovar II [B. multivorans], 19 patients; genomovar IV [B. stabilis], 1 patient; genomovar V [B. vietnamiensis], 1 patient; and an unclassified B. cepacia complex strain, 1 patient). Patient-to-patient spread was observed with B. cepacia genomovar III, but not with B. multivorans. Genomovar III strains replaced B. multivorans in 6 patients. Genomovar III strains were also associated with a poor clinical course and high mortality. Infection control practices should be designed with knowledge about B. cepacia complex genomovar status; patients infected with transmissible genomovar III strains should not be cohorted with patients infected with B. multivorans and other B. cepacia genomovars.