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Klebsiella species: guidance, data and analysis

The characteristics, diagnosis, management, surveillance and epidemiology of Klebsiella species.

Klebsiella species are a Gram-negative rod shaped bacteria belonging to the Enterobacteriaceae family. They are commonly found in the environment and in the human intestinal tract (where they do not normally cause disease).

These species can cause a range of healthcare-associated infections, including pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound or surgical site infections and meningitis. Acquired endogenously (from the patient’s own gut flora) or exogenously from the healthcare environment.

Patient to patient spread occurs through contaminated hands of healthcare workers or less commonly by contamination of the environment. Vulnerable patients, like the immune compromised, are most at risk. Infections can be associated with use of invasive devices or medical procedures.

Treatment

Klebsiella spp. can become resistant to a wide range of antibiotics through a variety of mechanisms for example, production of Extended-Spectrum Beta-lactamases or carbapenemase.

Carbapenem resistance: management and prevention

Prevention

Good hand hygiene practice in healthcare settings prevents the acquisition and spread of Klebsiella spp. Faecal contamination is how the bacteria is acquired and spread.

NICE antimicrobial stewardship guidance

World Health Organization 5 moments of hand hygiene

Carbapenem resistance: management Extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs): treatment, prevention, surveillance and prevention

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Epidemiology

From April 2017, the government extended the enhanced surveillance of bacteraemias caused by Gram-negative organisms to include Klebsiella spp. This supports the ambition to reduce infections by 50% by 2021. Read NHS Improvement’s plans to reduce these infections.

Patient-level data of any Klebsiella spp. bloodstream infections are reported monthly to Public Health England. Klebsiella spp. data is included in our mandatory surveillance publications from October 2017. See Gram-negative bacteraemia infections updates.

Published 30 November 2017