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Burkholderia cepacia and Bottled Water
I read with great interest the letter by Anne Vidaver et al. (Burkholderia cepacia-Friend or Foe? ASM News, September 1999, p. 587). I and some of my colleagues have been arguing for years that the presence of this organism in bottled drinking waters presents a potential threat to immunocompromised individuals. Nevertheless, Food and Drug Administration standards remain restricted to coliforms, with no actual limit (other than suggested) placed on the numbers of other heterotrophic organisms (HPC). Even Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which has long been disallowed in European Economic Community bottled waters, and is at present in the process of being regulated in Canada, is not tested for in the United States.
We have found Burkholderia cepacia on numerous occasions in bottled waters purchased in supermarkets. Not only are these organisms potential opportunists, but our studies have shown that they are typically resistant to a number of antimicrobials used in the treatment of clinical infections. I strongly agree with the authors' concern that this is not an organism to be randomly disseminated into the environment.
Fred A. Rosenberg
December 8, 1999
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