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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Preliminary Identification of the Primary Select Agents of Bioterrorism. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Burkholderia species

Clinical specimens where Burkholderia species may be encountered:

  • Blood
  • Bone marrow
  • Respiratory specimens - sputum, throat, or nasal
  • Wounds
  • Urine

Gram stain morphology:

B. mallei

  • Gram-negative coccobacillus or small rod
  • Arranged in pairs end-to-end, parallel bundles, or Chinese letter form

B. pseudomallei

  • Small, straight, or slightly curved gram-negative rod
  • May demonstrate peripheral or bipolar staining as they age (appear like endospores)
  • Smooth forms are arranged in long, parallel bundles
  • Rough forms more irregularly arranged