BACKGROUND: Burkholderia contaminans is one of the 20 closely related bacterial of the Burkholderia cepacia complex, a group of bacteria that are ubiquitous in the environment and capable of infecting people with cystic fibrosis (CF). This species is an emerging pathogen and it has been widely isolated from CF patients in Argentina, Spain, Portugal, Australia, Canada, USA with a low prevalence in Ireland, France, Russia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, and Italy. This is the first report of B. contaminans affecting two Italian CF patients attending the same CF Centre. We correlate B. contaminans colonisation with lung function decline and co-infection with other clinically relevant CF pathogens.
CASE PRESENTATION: B. contaminans was identified by Multi Locus Sequence Typing in routine sputum analysis of two Caucasian CF women homozygous for Phe508del CFTR mutation. Sequence Type 102 was detected in both strains. It is known that B. contaminans ST102 was isolated both from CF and non-CF patients, with an intercontinental spread across the world. Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA analysis revealed the genetic relatedness between the two strains. We examined their susceptibility to antimicrobial agents, comparing the latter with that recorded for other B. contaminans isolated from different countries. We also described key virulence factors possibly linked with a clinical outcome. Specifically, we attempted to correlate colonization with the incidence of acute exacerbation of symptoms and lung function decline.
CONCLUSIONS: This case presentation suggests that acquisition of B. contaminans ST102 is not directly associated with a lung function decline. We retain that the presence of other CF pathogens (i.e. MRSA and Trichosporon) along with B. contaminans ST102 might have contributed to the worsening of clinical conditions in our CF patients. The circumstances leading to the establishment of B. contaminans ST102 infections are still unknown. We highlight the importance to proper detect and typing bacteria implicated in CF infection by using molecular techniques.