Burkholderia cepacia has emerged as a nosocomial pathogen, causing numerous outbreaks, particularly among cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. Reports of clinical features of endemic B. cepacia bacteraemia in non-CF patients are rare. Twenty-five patients with B. cepacia bacteraemia were matched with 25 controls with nosocomial Escherichia coli bacteraemia at China Medical College Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan, over a period of 3 y. Case-patients included 16 men and 9 women, from 13 to 75 y. All had severe underlying diseases, most commonly malignancy (44%). Twenty-four patients (96%) had nosocomial infections. Five patients (20%) had polymicrobial bacteraemia. Our controls included 11 men and 14 women, age range 18-80 y. The most common underlying disease was malignancy (44%). Multivariate analysis revealed that indwelling central venous catheter was the significant risk factor predisposing to B. cepacia bacteraemia (p = 0.025). Eleven case-patients met the definition of catheter-related bloodstream infection. Fifteen patients (60%) received appropriate antimicrobial therapy after notification of positive blood cultures and susceptibility patterns. The overall case-fatality rate was 12% (3/25), only 1 of whom died of B. cepacia bacteraemia. There was no statistically significant difference in overall mortality rate between case-patients and controls. All isolates were susceptible to ceftazidime, piperacillin and minocycline and 84% of the isolates were susceptible to imipenem. B. cepacia should be considered a potential pathogen in hospitalized patients with severe underlying diseases, particularly those with indwelling central venous catheters.
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