Background: It has previously been reported that patients infected with Burkholderia cenocepacia (genomovar III) before lung transplantation have a poorer outcome than those with other B. cepacia complex infections.
Methods: An extensive study was conducted to determine the prevalence and clonality of B. cepacia complex genomovars isolated from patients referred for transplant assessment between 1989 to the present and, where appropriate, whether strain type was related to transplant outcome.
Results: Isolates from 29 patients were identified as B. cepacia complex organisms by molecular analysis. Thirteen patients (45%) were infected with the highly transmissible ET-12 strain of B. cenocepacia recA lineage III-A, while all remaining patients were infected with genetically unique B. cenocepacia, B. multivorans, and B. vietnamiensis strains. All previously reported deaths following transplantation were associated with ET-12 infection.
Conclusions: The ET-12 strain is the predominant cause of B. cenocepacia infections in patients with cystic fibrosis referred to our pulmonary transplant centre and is associated with poor transplant outcomes using standard treatment regimens.