Klebsiella pneumoniae (K. pneumoniae) is a gram-negative, rod-shaped, facultative anaerobic bacterium belonging to the Enterobacteriaceae family. It is one of the bacteria that shows lactose fermentation and grows as pink colonies on MacConkey agar.

This bacteria is usually harmless when living in the human gastrointestinal tract. However, when it spreads to other parts of the body, it can result into a range of serious and deadly infections. 

Klebsiella pneumoniae can cause infections like pneumonia (lung infections), septicemia (bloodstream infections), pyogenic liver abscess (PLA), meningitis, and urinary tract infections.

Causes and Risk Factors of Klebsiella pneumoniae Infection

Klebsiella pneumoniae is not airborne and is mostly transmitted through person-to-person contact. This pathogenic bacterium is associated with both hospital-acquired and community-acquired infections.

Klebsiella pneumoniae infections are more likely to happen among sick patients in hospital environments or healthcare settings.

Additionally, Klebsiella pneumoniae is also a potential cause of community-acquired infections. Individuals can contract Klebsiella  pneumoniae infection in community facilities such as malls, restaurants, and bars.

Also Read: Top Facts about E. Coli

Pathogenesis of Klebsiella pneumoniae

The polysaccharide capsule is a crucial virulence factor in the majority of Klebsiella pneumoniae strains. This capsule lies as an envelope outside the bacteria cell and acts as a defense barrier from host immune system responses. It also protects the bacteria against desiccation, thereby helping bacteria to proliferate and survive inside the host.

Klebsiella pneumoniae also utilizes other virulence factors such as type 1 and type 3 fimbriae, lipopolysaccharide, and siderophore iron acquisition systems which speed up the ability of bacteria to invade host cells.

5 Interesting Klebsiella Pneumoniae Facts You May Not Know

  • Klebsiella genus was named by V. Trevisan in the honor of German- swiss bacteriologist Edwin Klebs for his contribution towards research on infectious diseases.
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae, Klebsiella oxytoca, and Klebsiella granulomatis are primarily responsible for circulating infections among the human population.
  • The majority of Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates are multidrug-resistant and show a great label of resistance to nearly all the commonly used antibiotics namely β-lactams, ceftazidime,  aminoglycosides, quinolones, tigecycline,  etc.
  • Currently, Carbapenemase-producing strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae (KPC) are emerging as most drug-resistant variants and displaying significant morbidity and mortality.
  • Hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae (Hv-Kp) strains are antibiotic-susceptible and mainly associated with community-acquired infections. Such pathogenic isolates affect the healthy individual with severe and fatal infections like pyogenic liver abscesses.

Prevention and Control Measures of Klebsiella pneumoniae

The evolution and rapid spread of multidrug-resistant strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae is posing a serious risk to public health. Here are a few core precautions and safety measures that can reduce the risk of cross-transmission of infection such as –

  • Maintaining proper hand hygiene
  • Avoiding  invasive surgeries and use of indwelling devices
  • ​Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Following proper cleaning and disinfection practices in healthcare settings
  • Wearing gloves and gowns when entering patient’s rooms

Also Read: Top Facts about Aspergillus niger

Uses of Klebsiella pneumoniae (ATCC 4352) Microorganisms at MIS lab

At MIS, we use Klebsiella pneumoniae (ATCC 4352) as a test microorganism to evaluate the efficacy of antibacterial treated products claiming to kill Klebsiella pneumoniae and other medically important pathogens.

This strain is used for antimicrobial efficacy test methods such as EN 1276, EN 16615, EN 13697, PAS 2424, AOAC Use Dilution Test (AOAC 955.14; 955.15; 964.02). These test methods evaluate the antimicrobial effectiveness of disinfectants and antiseptics used in medical, food, and industrial areas.

Klebsiella pneumoniae (ATCC 4352) is also utilized as a challenge microorganism in other test methods (antibacterial efficacy test for treated plastics, coating, and textile material) like AATCC 100, ASTM E2149, ISO 22196, JIS Z2801, ASTM G21, ASTM G29, ISO 846, ASTM E2180 and so on.

To find more information on our antimicrobial testing facilities and services, talk to our experts now.


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