Medical Definition of Burkholderia cepacia

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Burkholderia cepacia: (B. cepacia, for short.) A group of bacteria found in soil and water that are often resistant to common antibiotics. B. cepacia poses little medical risk to healthy people. However, people who have certain health problems such as a weakened immune systems or chronic lung disease, particularly cystic fibrosis (CF), are more susceptible to infection with it. Transmission of B. cepacia has been reported from contaminated solutions and medical devices as well as contaminated over-the-counter nasal spray and contaminated mouthwash. B. cepacia can also be spread to susceptible persons by person-to-person contact, contact with contaminated surfaces, and exposure to B. cepacia in the environment. Careful attention to infection control procedures like hand hygiene can help reduce the risk of transmission of this organism. Decisions on the treatment of infections with B. cepacia are best made on a case-by-case basis. Usually it can be treated with drugs called Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole or Meropenem.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/24/2017

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