Burkholderia cepacia is a group of organisms that comprises seven genotypically distinct species (B cepacia genomovars I-VII), which are collectively known as the B cepacia complex. Preoperative infection with B cepacia is associated with a poor prognosis in lung transplant recipients with cystic fibrosis. Many centres do not, therefore, offer transplants to these individuals. Our aim was to ascertain whether or not post-transplant mortality is affected by pretransplant genomovar status. We studied archived isolates with PCR-based methods, and recorded excessive mortality in patients infected with B cepacia genomovar III, but not in those infected with other genomovars.