Epidemiology and clinical course of Burkholderia cepacia complex infections, particularly those caused by different Burkholderia cenocepacia strains, among patients attending an Italian Cystic Fibrosis Center

J Clin Microbiol. 2004 Apr;42(4):1491-7. doi: 10.1128/JCM.42.4.1491-1497.2004.


In this study, the epidemiology of Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) recovered from the sputum of 75 patients attending the Genoa Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Center at the Gaslini Children's Hospital (Genoa, Italy) was investigated, and the clinical course of the CF patients infected with the different species and genomovars of Bcc was evaluated. All isolates were analyzed for genomovar status by recA gene polymorphism and subsequently random amplified polymorphic DNA fingerprinting. Burkholderia cenocepacia is the predominant species recovered from the CF patients infected with Bcc at the Genoa CF Center. Of the other eight species comprising the Bcc, only a few isolates belonging to B. cepacia genomovar I, Burkholderia stabilis, and Burkholderia pyrrocinia were found. Of the four recA lineages of B. cenocepacia, most patients were infected by epidemic strains belonging to lineages IIIA and IIID, whereas only a few patients harbored IIIB strains. Patient-to-patient spread of Bcc among CF patients was mostly associated with B. cenocepacia, in particular with strains belonging to recA lineages IIIA and IIID. The mortality of CF patients infected with Bcc at the Genoa CF Center was significantly higher than mortality among CF patients not infected with Bcc. All of the deaths were associated with the presence of B. cenocepacia, except the case of a patient infected with B. cepacia genomovar I. Within B. cenocepacia, infection with epidemic strains belonging to lineages IIIA and IIID was associated with higher rates of mortality than was infection with lineage IIIB strains. No significant differences in lung function, body weight, and mortality rate were observed between patients infected with epidemic strains belonging to either B. cenocepacia IIIA or B. cenocepacia IIID.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Burkholderia Infections / epidemiology*
  • Burkholderia Infections / microbiology
  • Burkholderia Infections / physiopathology*
  • Burkholderia cepacia / classification*
  • Burkholderia cepacia / genetics
  • Burkholderia cepacia / isolation & purification
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cystic Fibrosis / epidemiology*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / microbiology
  • Cystic Fibrosis / physiopathology*
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA Technique
  • Rec A Recombinases / genetics
  • Sputum / microbiology


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Rec A Recombinases