Burkholderia cepacia complex

Burkholderia cepacia complex (BCC), is a group of catalase-producing, non-lactose-fermenting Gram-negative bacteria composed of at least nine different species. It is an important human pathogen that often causes pneumonia in immunocompromised individuals with underlying lung disease.

They are typically found in water and soil and can survive for prolonged periods in moist environments. Spread between people occurs often in hospitals, clinics, and camps. Infected hosts are often treated in a separate area from uninfected patients in order to limit the spread.

Diagnosis involves culturing the bacteria from clinical specimens such as sputum or blood. Organisms are naturally resistant to many common antibiotics including aminoglycosides and polymyxin B. BCC also ferments lactose which turns the pH indicator yellow. This helps to distinguish it from other organisms that may grow on OFPBL agar.

Treatment includes antibiotics, with co-trimoxazole has been generally considered the drug of choice for Burkholderia cepacia infections. In April 2007 a way to kill the organism was discovered.
It was discovered by Walter Burkholder in 1949 as the culprit of onion skin rot and was first described as a human pathogen in the 1950s.