Melissa Benoit

Burkholderia cepacia complex: what you need to know

Burkholderia cepacia complex (BCC)  is a family of bacteria that usually live in damp soil.  BCC was originally described as a bacteria that affected plants, specifically causing rot in onions. These bacteria rarely cause illness in humans and people without CF do not get infections with Burkholderia cepacia complex.  It was not until the 1980's that it was realized that Burkholderia cepacia complex could cause infection in people with CF. 

Currently, less than 5% of the Canadian CF population grows Burkholderia cepacia complex in their lungs. Burkholderia cepacia complex can be passed from one person with CF to another person with CF.  Strict infection control practices help to prevent the spread of this bacteria in our clinic. These include handwashing and staff wearing gowns and gloves,  separate clinics and lung function testing days for people with and without Burkholderia cepacia complex, separate nursing staff looking after people with or without Burkholderia cepacia complex in the hospital, as well as people with CF wearing masks in the hospital if outside of your or hospital room.

Click here to learn more information on Burkholderia cepacia complex.