Evidence of transmission of Burkholderia cepacia, Burkholderia multivorans and Burkholderia dolosa among persons with cystic fibrosis

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2003 Nov 7;228(1):57-62. doi: 10.1016/S0378-1097(03)00724-9.


Previous studies have identified specific Burkholderia cepacia complex strains that are common to multiple persons with cystic fibrosis (CF). Such so-called epidemic strains have an apparent enhanced capacity for inter-patient spread and reside primarily in Burkholderia cenocepacia (formerly B. cepacia complex genomovar III). We sought to identify strains from B. cepacia complex species other than B. cenocepacia that are similarly shared by multiple CF patients. We performed genotype analysis of 360 recent sputum culture isolates from 360 persons residing in 29 cities by using repetitive extragenic palendromic polymerase chain reaction (rep-PCR) and pulsed field gel electrophoresis. The results indicate that sharing of a common Burkholderia multivorans strain occurs relatively infrequently; however, several small clusters of patients infected with the same strain were identified. A cluster of seven patients infected with the same B. cepacia (genomovar I) strain was found. We also identified a large group of 28 patients receiving care in the same treatment center and infected with the same Burkholderia dolosa strain. These observations suggest that B. cepacia complex strains in species other than B. cenocepacia may be spread among CF patients.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Burkholderia Infections / diagnosis*
  • Burkholderia Infections / transmission*
  • Burkholderia cepacia / classification
  • Burkholderia cepacia / genetics*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Sputum / microbiology