An outbreak ofBurkholderia cepaciabacteremia in hospitalized hematology patients selectively affecting those with acute myeloid leukemia

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Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) is a group of common environmental bacteria that preferentially colonize and infect patients with cystic fibrosis but are also emerging as nosocomial pathogens, possibly due to their resistance to disinfectants and antimicrobials.


We investigated a 3-month outbreak of Bcc bacteremia among hospitalized hematology patients. Environmental investigation and infection control measures were implemented. A retrospective, cross-sectional study was conducted to identify risk factors.


Bcc was repeatedly isolated from the blood of 9 patients without central venous catheter who did not easily respond to targeted antibiotic treatment and 3 died of the infection. A point source was not identified and horizontal spread was suspected. Strict infection control measures terminated the outbreak. Interestingly, diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia but not neutropenia or prior chemotherapy was a risk factor for infection acquisition. Neutropenia was positively correlated with infection duration.


Bcc is not only a serious threat among immunocompromized hematology patients, but is also transmissible in clinical settings. Acute myeloid leukemia appears to confer additional risk for infection acquisition.

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