Recognizing Klebsiella pneumoniae symptoms is important in receiving the immediate and appropriate type of treatment. Klebsiella bacteria are bacteria that commonly live in the mouth, intestines and skin. They are non-motile, rod-shaped and gram negative bacteria which have a prominent polysaccharide capsule. The capsule encases the cell surface and is the one that provides resistance against the host’s defense mechanisms.
Although Klebsiella bacteria are part of the flora in the moth, skin and intestines, their uncontrolled growth and division can lead to infections with this specific bacterium. They are also the second most common bacteria, after E. coli, which are responsible for infections of the urinary tract. The two most common Klebsiella members of the genus that cause infections in humans are K pneumonia and K oxytoca.
Commonly, infections with these bacteria occur in the lungs, where they cause long-lasting damage. The affected lung tissue becomes inflamed and hemorrhage may occur. At risk of developing infection of the lung with Klebsiella are older people, who abuse alcohol, who suffer from diabetes or from a chronic broncho-pumlonary disease.
Infections with Klebsiella may also occur in the urinary tract, lower respiratory tract, biliary tract and surgical wound sites. They may cause syndromes such as pneumonia, bacteremia, thrombophlebitis, urinary tract infection, diarrhea, wound infection, cholecystitis, upper respiratory tract infection and meningitis. Patient with Klebsiella infections are at risk of developing sepsis and septic shock.
When the infection reaches the meninges, it causes brain tissue inflammation. The main relation between Klebsiella infection and cerebritis is that the first can lead to the latter. Klebsiella infection and cerebritis are related by the means that the infection can get to the brain through the blood stream and once it has affected it, it causes inflammation of the brain tissue, which is referred to as cerebritis. Once the infection has reached the brain, the condition tends to worsen and immediate treatment must be administered.
In the United, States, the incidence of Klebsiella infections shows that persons who suffer from alcoholism are the main population at risk, as 66% of the cases affect these persons. According to the statistics, half of the persons at risk to develop Klebsiella and who acquire the infection die, and in people with alcoholism and bacteremia, the infection is fatal in 100% cases. Klebsiella also accounts for 8% of all hospital-acquired infections and it also accounts for 3 to 7% of all nosocomial bacterial infections (depending on the study reviewed). In the United States, Klebsiella causes nearly 15% of cases of primary bacteremia. Worldwide, outbreaks of neonatal septicemia occur due to Klebsiella infections.
Although, Klebsiella treatment is available, and it mainly consists of antibiotics, many antibiotics are not effective in curing the disease. Klebsiella treatment is prescribed depending on the organ system that was involved and in severe cases, it consists of intrinsic agents such as cephalosporins, carbapenems, aminoglycosides (such as gentamicin), and quinolones.
To conclude, Klebsiella pneumoniae symptoms include high fever, chills, flu-like symptoms and productive cough and as the mortality rates are so high, patients should seek medical care as soon as the symptoms appear.