Hello! My name is Klebsiella.

December 16, 2016

The genius Klebsiella was named after Edwin Klebs and in 1884 the Danish scientist Hans Christian Gram has developed the technique now known as Gram staining to discriminate between Klebsiella pneumonae and Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Klebsiella is a rod shaped gram negative bacteria that resides in the microbiota of humans. It can be found in the mouth, skin and intestinal tract, where it initially does not cause disease.

Although found in the microbiota, it can progress into severe bacterial infections leading to pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound infections, urinary tract infections, surgical site infections and meningitis.

In healthcare it can be spread through Human to Human contact via contaminated hands of contaminated personal, patients or other persons. It can also spread by contaminations in the surrounding environment. The bacteria are not spread through the air. It commonly occurs among sick people who are receiving treatment for other conditions.

Patients in healthcare whose care requires devices like ventilators or intravenous catheters and patients who are taking long courses of certain antibiotics are at most risk to be exposed to Klebsiella infections. Patients can also contract bacteria infection through medical equipments during treatment or surgery (these medical tools and conditions may allow the bacteria to enter the body and cause infection). Healthy people usually do not get the infection.
To get a Klebsiella infection a person must be exposed to the bacteria, it must enter the respiratory tract to cause pneumonia or the blood to cause a bloodstream infection.

Klebsiella bacteria have developed antimicrobial resistance and have since been classified as a superbug. The resistant strain has already spread to all the regions of the planet and in 2014 was placed in watch by the world health organization as one of the major threats to mankind.

Resistant to many antibiotics it leaves a very limited treatment options. Choosing an antibiotic treatment for Klebsiella depends on the organ system that has been targeted and surgery might be the only solution for these patients. Mortality rate for patients infected with multi resistant Klebsiella can go above 40%.