Klebsiella Infections

What are Klebsiella Infections?

Klebsiella infections are caused by a group of bacteria which can be found naturally in soil and water, as well as in the intestines of some animals and humans. Klebsiella bacteria can be found in a variety of different places, but they are most commonly associated with hospital settings. These bacteria can cause a variety of different infections, ranging from a mild form of pneumonia to urinary tract infections and bloodstream infections.

Symptoms of Klebsiella Infections

Common symptoms associated with Klebsiella infections include fever, chills, cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Other symptoms may include an increase in white blood cell count, decrease in white blood cell count, and an increase in red blood cell count. Some individuals may experience joint pain, joint stiffness, and joint swelling as well.

Risk Factors for Klebsiella Infections

Individuals at a higher risk for developing a Klebsiella infection include men, those who are immunocompromised, and those who are elderly. Additionally, patients who require a catheter, individuals who have recently undergone surgery, and people who are on antibiotics for a long period of time are all at an increased risk of acquiring these infections.

Diagnosing Klebsiella Infections

In order to diagnose Klebsiella infections, a sample of the affected area must usually be taken (e.g., sputum for suspected pneumonias or urine for suspected urinary tract infections). The sample will then be examined under a microscope to determine the presence of Klebsiella bacteria, and a blood test may be conducted as well to determine the amount of bacteria present in the bloodstream.

Treating Klebsiella Infections

Treatment for Klebsiella infections typically involves the use of antibiotics. Common antibiotics used to treat Klebsiella infections include amoxicillin, ampicillin, and cephalosporins. Generally, treatment will last for 8 to 12 weeks depending on the severity of the infection. Individuals should also take measures to prevent getting re-infected with Klebsiella by washing their hands properly and avoiding contact with people who are ill.

Preventing Klebsiella Infections

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after going to the bathroom, before preparing food, and after contact with someone who is ill.
  • Practice good hygiene and proper sanitation.
  • Avoid contact with people who are ill.
  • Get vaccinated against common illnesses related to Klebsiella infections, such as influenza and pneumonia.
  • Clean and disinfect any surfaces which may be contaminated with Klebsiella bacteria.