Phenotypic and genomic analyses of Burkholderia stabilis clinical contamination, Switzerland

Helena M.B. Seth-Smith, Carlo Casanova, Rami Sommerstein, Dominik M. Meinel, Mohamed M.H. Abdelbary, Dominique S. Blanc, Sara Droz, Urs Führer, Reto Lienhard, Claudia Lang, Olivier Dubuis, Matthias Schlegel, Andreas Widmer, Peter M. Keller, Jonas Marschall, Adrian Egli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A recent hospital outbreak related to premoistened gloves used to wash patients exposed the difficulties of defining Burkholderia species in clinical settings. The outbreak strain displayed key B. stabilis phenotypes, including the inability to grow at 42°C; we used whole-genome sequencing to confirm the pathogen was B. stabilis. The outbreak strain genome comprises 3 chromosomes and a plasmid, sharing an average nucleotide identity of 98.4% with B. stabilis ATCC27515 BAA-67, but with 13% novel coding sequences. The genome lacks identifiable virulence factors and has no apparent increase in encoded antimicrobial drug resistance, few insertion sequences, and few pseudogenes, suggesting this outbreak was an opportunistic infection by an environmental strain not adapted to human pathogenicity. The diversity among outbreak isolates (22 from patients and 16 from washing gloves) is only 6 single-nucleotide polymorphisms, although the genome remains plastic, with large elements stochastically lost from outbreak isolates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1084-1092
Number of pages9
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


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