An epidemic of burkholderia cepacia transmitted between patients with and without cystic fibrosis.


Holmes A, Nolan R, Taylor R, Finley R, Riley M, Jiang RZ, Steinbach S, Goldstein R.


Burkholderia cepacia is an important pathogen in cystic fibrosis (CF) and an infrequent cause of nosocomial infection in non-CF patients. This report describes a large hospital outbreak that appeared to involve both patient groups, a previously unrecognized phenomenon. Ribotype restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) profiles and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis-resolved macrochromosomal RFLPs were analyzed, a ribotype-based phylogenic tree was constructed, and case-control and cohort studies were performed. A single dominant clone was found in both CF and non-CF groups. Phylogenic analysis suggests that it has evolved independently and that such highly transmissible strains can emerge rapidly and randomly. Acquisition risk in the CF patients was linked to hospitalization (odds ratio=5.47, P=.0158, confidence interval=1. 28-26.86) and was associated with significantly increased mortality rates. Infection control policies must now consider this threat of transmission between non-CF and CF patients.

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