Burkholderia cepacia, formally Pseudomonas cepacia, is a bacterium that can be found in soil and water. Ordinarily it is not a pathogen in the ambulatory setting but may colonize and or infect the respiratory tract of patients with cystic fibrosis or bronchiectasis. Skin and soft tissue infections, surgical wound infections, central venous catheter and urinary tract infections have all been reported in healthcare settings. This bacterium is often naturally resistant to common antibiotics.   

Transmission of Burkholderia cepacia has been reported from contaminated medicines and medical devices as well as person-to-person contact and contact with contaminated surfaces. Environmental monitoring for contamination of showers and sinks has been suggested. 

Test Method  

Filter concentration method using Burkholderia selective media, incubation 36.5°C + 0.5°C for 72hr–96hr. Direct plating is also included in the event of high concentrations of the organism. Modification of the ASTM International Standard Test Method for the Isolation and Enumeration of Pseudomonas aeruginosa from water (D 5246). 

Turn Around Time  

3–10 days 

Test Code 



The sample volume is ≥120 mL and should be collected as follows: 

  1. Complete the Chain of Custody Test Request form.
  2. Use waterproof pen to label bottle with sample location, description, and date.
  3. Turn on hot water and immediately fill the bottle. Close bottle and invert to mix neutralizer.

Sample Transport  

  1. Ship the same day samples are collected for receipt in laboratory. The time from sample collection to analysis should not exceed 30 hours.
  2. Place bottles in box with insulated liner.
  3. Place completed Chain of Custody Test Request form in plastic document holder and pack in box.
  4. Ship overnight Monday–Thursday only to: Special Pathogens Laboratory, 1401 Forbes Avenue, Suite 401, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Samples received on Saturday will not be processed.

Questions? Call 412-281-5335