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Klebsiella pneumoniae

ISSN 2398-2950

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Synonym(s): K. pneumoniae

Introduction

Classification

Taxonomy

  • Family: Enterobacteriaceae.
  • Genus:Klebsiella.
  • Species: pneumoniae.

Etymology

  • Klebsiella: named after T A E Klebs (1834-1913) - German bacteriologist.
  • pneumoniae: Greek: pneuma- wind, breath.

Distribution

  • Worldwide.

Significance

  • May colonize mucous membranes of healthy individuals; can be present in soil.
  • Opportunistic pathogen; infects immunocompromized sites.
  • Associated with nosocomial infections in dogs, cats and human beings.
  • Associated mainly with infections of the urogenital tract in cats.
  • Opportunistic infections.

Active Forms

Active Form 1

Morphology

  • Pleomorphic, gram-negative, non-spore-forming rods; 2-3 by 0.4-0.6 um.
  • Non-motile.
  • Usually capsulated.
  • Large mucoid colonies on MacConkey agar.

Taxonomy

  • Somatic cell-wall antigens, fimbrial antigens and capsular antigens.
  • Urease positive, ferments carbohydrates, nitrate positive, oxidase negative.

Tolerances

Temperature
  • Grows at 41°C, but not at 10°C.
Humidity
  • Killed by desiccation.
Ultraviolet
  • Killed by sunlight.
Other
  • Resistance to antimicrobials changes through acquisition of R plasmids.
  • Killed by pasteurization and common disinfectants.

Development

Growth
  • Facultative anaerobe.
  • Growth under anaerobic conditions depends on a source of fermentable carbohydrate.
Longevity
  • Survives for months in moist, shaded environments.

Resting Forms

Clinical Effects

Epidemiology

Habitat

  • Widespread in environment.
  • Colonizes mucous membranes, especially of gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts.

Transmission

  • Direct or indirect contact.
  • Many infections endogenous.
  • Often nosocomial infections.

Pathological effects

  • Opportunistic infections develop at immunocompromized sites.
  • K. pneumonia is a common cause of nosocomial infections.
  • Endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide), consists of polysaccharide antigens and Lipid A, the toxic moiety   →   internalized by host cells   →   stimulates secretion of inflammatory mediators   →   endotoxemia.
  • Some strains produce exotoxins.
  • Cats: associated with urinary tract infections Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), and genital infections Infectious infertility in the female. Also isolated from the urogenital tract of healthy cats.
  • Dogs: hepatic, urogenital, intestinal and wound infections.
  • Horses: associated with placentitis, metritis, peritonitis and cholangiohepatitis in horses.
  • Cattle: mastitis; associated with bedding on sawdust.

Other host effects

  • Colonizes mucous membranes of healthy individuals, particularly in gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts.

Control

Control via animal

  • Hygiene, especially in veterinary hospitals.

Control via chemotherapies

  • Antibiotic susceptibility testing should be carried out; transferable resistance (carried by R plasmids) is common, eg to gentamicin.
  • Uniformly resistant to ampicillin Ampicillin.

Control via environment

  • Hygiene, especially in veterinary hospitals.
  • Susceptible to common disinfectants.

Vaccination

  • None available.

Diagnosis

Useful samples

  • Swabs, blood, body fluids.

Specimen storage

  • Refrigerate.

Transport of samples

  • As quickly as possible to avoid overgrowth.

Laboratory diagnosis

  • Culture on blood or MacConkey agar   →   large mucoid colonies.
  • Identified using biochemical test kits, eg API 20E.
  • Serology on capsular antigens.
  • Bacteriophage typing.

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Clemetson L L & Ward A C (1990) Bacterial flora of the vagina and uterus of healthy cats. JAVMA 196 (6), 902-906 PubMed.