Klebsiella Pneumoniae Infection: Symptoms and Diagnostic Procedures

Klebsiella Pneumoniae Infection: Symptoms and Diagnostic Procedures

Klebsiella Pneumoniae, also known as K. Pneumoniae, is a type of bacteria, which usually lives in the intestines and stools of humans. These microorganisms generally do not cause any harm when they are staying in your guts. However, when they spread to another part or organ of your body, they cause severe infection, which may lead to other health complications.

According to the physicians, the risk of getting affected by these bacteria generally increases when you are sick or having immune system issues. When they start spreading throughout your body, they can affect your brain, lungs, liver, blood, eyes, bladder, and wounds. However, most of the time, they spread to the lungs of a human being and cause Klebsiella Pneumonia infection.

Causes and Risk Factors of Klebsiella Pneumonia Infection

As mentioned before, the K. Pneumonia bacteria usually affect those people who are either sick or are suffering from any immune system problems. Here are some of the Klebsiella Pneumoniae causes and risk factors that you should know about.

1. Open Wounds

The Klebsiella microorganisms can spread from one person to another through open wounds. Therefore, if you have any open sores or injuries, then your risk of getting affected by these infections will increase by almost 35% than any other injury-free person.

2. Alcoholics

Apart from making you get drunk, alcohol can also affect your immune system and decrease its overall capability. Therefore, if you do drink liquor almost every day of the week, then your immune system would be weakened quite easily. This will increase your risk of getting infected by the Klebsiella Pneumoniae bacteria.

3. Cancer Medications

The medicines, which are generally used by the doctors for treating cancer, can lower the strength of your body’s immunity system. Therefore, it becomes easier for the bacteria to grow inside your body and cause infections.

4. Taking Antibiotics

The antibiotic medicines are yet another thing that can lower the potency of your immunization system. Due to this reason, if you are taking antibiotics for a long time, then your risk of being affected by the Klebsiella microorganisms increases quite massively.

5. Kidney Failure

If you are suffering from any kidney issues, then you are, too, at a higher risk of developing Klebsiella infection. Kidney failure is yet another reason that can increase your chances of getting affected by Klebsiella Infection.

6. Age

Aging is known to be one of the prominent factors, which decreases the capability of our immune system. Due to this reason, the infections, which are caused by Klebsiella Pneumoniae, are generally more common among the people who are of 65 years or older.

7. Chronic Liver Disease

The liver helps in cleaning the waste components from our blood, and, thereby, keeps our immune system healthy and vigorous. However, if a person is suffering from any of the chronic liver diseases, then his or her liver cannot purge the blood properly. It is yet another factor that can decrease the strength of your immunity system and exposes you more to the bacteria.

These are some of the most prominent factors, which are known to encourage the Klebsiella Pneumoniae bacteria to spread throughout our body. However, there are a lot more other reasons too, which can cause these microorganisms to become overactive. Here are some of them.

  • Using Corticosteroids for a long time
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD
  • Organ transplantation
  • Diabetes
  • Using an infected ureter catheter
  • Undergoing a serious surgery
  • Using an infected breathing machine or ventilator

Symptoms of Klebsiella Infection

The incidents of Klebsiella infection usually occurs when the bacteria enters directly into a person’s body. Once they are inside and survived the defenses of the immune system, they can affect various organs. Due to this reason, the symptoms of the disease usually depend on the location of where the infection has started.

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1. Lung Infection or Pneumonia

Because of being a type of bacteria, the Klebsiella Pneumoniae usually causes bacterial pneumonia when they are inside your lungs or the respiratory tract. This type of infection commonly occurs in the cases of person-to-person contact, which is why it is also known as community-acquired pneumonia.

The main symptom of this type of pneumonia is fever with chills. If the disease has spread quite much, then you may also encounter some other symptoms, such as coughing with bloody mucus, shortness of breath, and severe chest pain.

2. Soft Tissue Infection

If the K. Pneumonia bacteria enter through your bruise, then it can also infect the soft tissues of your body or your skin. This type of infection occurs among those people who have an open wound caused by surgery and injury.

If you are suffering from soft tissue contagion, then the first symptom, which you will encounter, is redness on your skin or swelling. As the disease grows, various other general symptoms of infection, such as fever, pain, and fatigue, will also start occurring.

Many people also experience flu-like symptoms with this disease.

3. Urinary Tract Infection

When the Klebsiella Pneumoniae bacteria enter a person’s urinary tract, which includes kidneys, urethra, and bladder, it can cause severe urinary tract infection (UTI). This type of infection usually occurs among those who are using a urinary catheter for quite some time. Typically, it is more common among older women.

Klebsiella-caused UTIs usually do not show any significant signs at first. However, as the infection grows, numerous severe symptoms start to occur. Among these, the frequent urge for urination is known to be one of the most common ones. If your urinary tract is severely affected, then you might also see blood in your urine.

Some other issues, such as pain in the lower abdomen and pelvic area, are also quite common among the patients.

4. Endophthalmitis

If K. Pneumonia has infected your blood, then it can spread to your eyes and cause a severe type of infection called Endophthalmitis. It primarily causes inflammation in your eyes’ white section.

When at an earlier stage, this infection causes redness of the eyes and mild to severe pain. Apart from discomfort, you may also experience the discharge of white or yellow mucus from the eyes.

When the infection is at an advanced stage, it can cause blurred vision and photophobia. If left untreated, the bacteria can also spread in your brain and cause other health complications.

5. Meningitis

In some cases of Klebsiella Pneumoniae-caused Endophthalmitis, the microorganisms spread from the patient’s eyes to his or her brain and cause bacterial meningitis. However, this type of K. Pneumoniae is known to be quite rare and usually occurs among older people.

When a person is suffering from this type of infection, they will encounter a sudden onset of high fever, severe headache, and a stiffed neck. Because of the acute pain, many people also experience a feeling of nausea and photophobia.

If the infection is left untreated, then it can also lead to the death of the patient in some cases.

6. Bacteremia

Bacteremia, or the presence of the bacterium in human blood, generally occurs when the K. Pneumoniae enters your bloodstream and infects it. Two types of Bacteremia frequently occur among patients. These are primary and secondary. In primary bacteremia, the bacterium directly enters your bloodstream and infects it. However, in secondary bacteremia, the microorganisms spread in your blood from your infected organs.

Even though it is known to be quite dangerous and life-threatening, Bacteremia does not usually show any severe signs at an early stage. When it does, the patients generally encounter some mild symptoms, such as fever, shaking, and chills.

7. Pyogenic Liver Abscess

Apart from other organs of your body, K. Pneumonia can also infect your liver and cause a pus-filled lesion in it. It is known as Pyogenic Liver Abscess. This type of infection more commonly occurs in people who are suffering from diabetes for quite some time or have been taking antibiotics for years.


If you are suffering from Pyogenic Liver Abscess, then you might encounter these problems:

  • Mild to severe fever
  • Vomiting (with or without blood)
  • Acute diarrhea
  • Frequent feeling of nausea
  • Mild pain in the right-sided upper abdomen

So, these are some of the types of infections that K. Pneumonia can cause among humans.

Klebsiella Pneumoniae Transmission

The Klebsiella Pneumoniae bacterium usually transmits from one person to another through touching, saliva exchanging, and any other modes of contact. A person who is not infected by this bacterium can also spread it to another person. They can also spread through some other medical equipment, such as ureter and intravenous catheters, ventilators, etc. However, contrary to popular belief, K. Pneumoniae is unable to spread through the air.

Klebsiella Pneumoniae Diagnostic Procedures

Your doctor or physician can do numerous types of tests to find out the location of the Klebsiella infection. Here are some of them.

  • Imaging Tests: This is one of the most common tests, which the doctors usually ask the patients to do for locating the place and the spread of the disease. If your doctor suspects that you have a lesion in your liver, then he would ask you to go for a CT scan or an ultrasound.
  • Physical Examination: If you have an open bruise anywhere on your body, then your doctor would do a physical examination and check your wounds carefully. He or she might also look for signs of infection in your eyes if you have any eye-related issues.
  • Fluid Samples: For finding the traces of Klebsiella in your body, your doctor might also ask for your blood and urine samples.

If you are currently using a catheter or a ventilator for any of your diseases, then your doctor would also check them for K. Pneumoniae.

How to Treat Klebsiella Pneumoniae Infection?

Just like the symptoms of the disease, the treatments of it also depend on the location of your infection. However, most of the time, the physicians generally treat the patients with one type of antibiotic or a combination of them. The combination of drugs is generally used in those people who have an antibiotic-resistant infection.

Nevertheless, the good thing is that the people with Klebsiella Pneumoniae infection generally recover quite quickly if they follow their doctors’ instructions thoroughly. So, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, then make sure to go to your doctor as soon as possible.

Questions That Might Arise in Your Mind about the K. Pneumoniae Infection

  1. Is Klebsiella Pneumoniae UTI dangerous?

Yes, like any other Klebsiella infections, the Klebsiella Pneumoniae UTI is also known to be quite dangerous. Therefore, if you are experiencing any of its symptoms, then make sure to go to your doctor as soon as possible.

  1. How does the Klebsiella Pneumoniae bacterium spread?

The K. Pneumoniae bacteria are spread through person-to-person contacts.

  1. What are the common antibiotics that are used to treat Klebsiella infection?

Some of the common antibiotics that are used to treat the symptoms and issues of a Klebsiella infection are cefepime, ertapenem, norfloxacin, meropenem, and piperacillin.

  1. Does K. Pneumoniae infection cause diarrhea?

Some types of K. Pneumoniae infections, such as Pyogenic Liver Abscess and Bacteremia, can sometimes cause severe cases of diarrhea.

  1. How to Get Rid of Klebsiella Pneumoniae UTI?

Like any other type of UTI, your doctor will give you a combination of antibiotics, which you would have to take for at least three months to get completely cured of Klebsiella Pneumoniae UTI.

  1. Which type of Klebsiella infection is more deadly?

If left untreated, almost any of the types of Klebsiella infection can lead to the death of the patient. However, amongst them, the Bacteremia is considered to be the most dangerous as it spreads throughout the body a lot more quickly than the others.

  1. What are the common signs of Klebsiella infections?

The signs and symptoms of Klebsiella infections usually depend on hits location. However, most of the types of K. Pneumoniae issues come with one common symptom, which is a high fever with chills.

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