Klebsiella Infection

Klebsiella Infection

A Klebsiella is a bacterium, which is gram negative and notoriously known as hospital bacteria as the source of infection for this bacteria usually is a healthcare setting. Although Klebsiella bacteria can be found in intestines and stools, it does no harm there. However, in patients who are already on ventilators and catheters etc are at risk of contracting this bacteria. It can be the cause of pneumonia, surgical site infections when a patient is undergoing treatment in hospital.

In a healthcare setting it can spread through direct contact from one patient to another via contaminated hands of a healthcare provider. Once the exposure is there it can cause infection, e.g. if it enters the respiratory tract, it can lead to pneumonia.

It is very important that in healthcare settings or hospitals, adequate precautions are taken to avoid such infections. It usually requires following up on hygiene practices especially hand hygiene. Careful procedures that involve cleaning every facility properly are very important in controlling spread of these bacteria. It is required that patients wash their hands before eating food. It is also equally important that patients sanitize their hands before touching their face, especially eyes, nose and mouth, after using the restroom, after blowing their nose or coughing. Hospital surfaces such as bedside tables, doorknobs, phones etc may especially be the contact points that need sanitizing.

Some Klebsiella infections can be treated with antibiotics like carbapenems, but some may be resistant to these antibiotics. It is important to test in the lab as to which antibiotic can treat the infection.

No matter whatever antibiotics you take, the schedule should be followed as per the health care providers’ advice and the whole course must be completed.

The important thing is that Klebsiella infection has low chances of spreading to a healthy person, but if someone in the family has Klebsiella infection, it is important to stick to the hygiene regimen strictly as that can avoid the spread of the germs.

Klebsiella is a gram negative bacterium. It can also lead to septicaemia andankylosing spondylitis. It belongs to the Enterobacteriacea family and nearly seven species are identified. K penumoniae and K oxytoca are most important members of this genus.There have been outbreaks of neonatal septicaemia in the world. Similarly K.pneumoniae has a world wide spread. Infact in some societies elder people are more prone to getting community acquired pneumonia, whereas in some others only people with alcoholism etc.

Klebsiella is known to cause 8%of all hospital acquired infections in the United States. However, the mortality rates are very high with 50% of people and are 100% in persons with reduced immunity such as because of alcoholism and bacteraemia. Klebsiella cause 14%of primary bacteria in US, second highest after E.coli. So it is known as the leading cause of nosocomial infection. What is indeed most challenging for controlling an outbreak is that some of these bacteria are resistant to carbapenem. If the species is CRKP, which means Carbapenem resistant Klebsiella pneumonia that implies it is resistant to almost all available antibiotics as carbapenem is generally the last line of treatment for drug resistant bacteria.

If the specific Klebsiella infection in a patient is not resistant to specific antibiotics, various antibiotics that can treat this infection are ampicillin, ceftazidine, levofloxacin, Meropenem etc. However, if it is one of those which is resistant, careful analysis is important by the healthcare providers for suggesting the line of treatment. Sometimes interventional radiology is also used along with antibiotic treatment.

Widespread use of broad spectrum antibiotics has led to highly resistant strains which can spread very quickly.