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Volume 34, Number 3, September 2001

Characteristics of patients with Burkholderia cepacia bacteremia

Chien-Hsien Huang, Tsrang-Neng Jang, Cheng-Yi Liu, Chang-Phone Fung, Kwok-Woon Yu, Wing-Wai Wong
Department of Internal Medicine, Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC



Burkholderia cepacia has become an important pathogen of infections in immunocompromised and nosocomial patients. The characteristics of 42 episodes of B. cepacia bacteremia in 40 patients admitted to the Taipei Veterans General Hospital between January 1997 and December 1999 were retrospectively analyzed. Factors that adversely influenced the mortality rate included respiratory failure, an unknown infection source, a period in an intensive care unit, and shock. Most of the patients had serious underlying diseases, such as diabetes mellitus, malignancy, congestive heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The mean time for a positive blood culture was 45 days after admission. The overall mortality rate was 28.6% (12/42), and 44.4% (12/27) of all deaths were directly related to B. cepacia bacteremia. Polymicrobial bacteremia was found in 5 patients. Ceftazidime was the most effective antimicrobial agent in vitro, whereas chloramphenicol, imipenem, and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole were less effective alternatives. Appropriate antibiotic therapy was given to 30 patients, most of whom responded to the therapy except for 5 who died despite receiving appropriate treatment. Although B. cepacia infection develops in a relatively small proportion of hospitalized individuals, it has a major impact on morbidity and mortality. In view of the fact that B. cepacia develops resistance to a wide range of antimicrobial agents, ceftazidime and/or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole should be the drug of choice for empiric therapy.



J Microbiol Immunol Infect 2001;34:215-219.