ESKAPE is an acronym that stands for six of the most concerning hospital-acquired infections: Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species. In this post, we will focus on one of these organisms in particular: Klebsiella pneumoniae.

Klebsiella pneumoniae is a Gram-negative bacterium that is becoming increasingly recognized as a major global health threat. It is a member of the Enterobacteriaceae family and is commonly found in the human gastrointestinal tract. While it is usually harmless in healthy individuals, it can cause serious infections in immunocompromised patients, particularly those in healthcare settings.

One of the biggest concerns with K. pneumoniae is its ability to develop resistance to antibiotics. It is often found to be resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics, including those commonly used for treating hospital-acquired infections. This resistance is largely due to the acquisition of plasmids carrying antibiotic resistance genes, as well as mutations in chromosomal genes. In particular, the emergence of carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae (CRKP) strains is a major concern, as carbapenems are considered the antibiotics of last resort for many bacterial infections.

CRKP infections are associated with high morbidity and mortality rates, making control and prevention of these infections critical. Strategies employed to control the spread of K. pneumoniae in healthcare settings include early identification of infected or colonized patients, strict isolation precautions, appropriate use of antibiotics, and aggressive environmental cleaning.

In conclusion, K. pneumoniae is a growing threat in healthcare settings due to its ability to develop antibiotic resistance and cause serious infections in vulnerable patients. Vigilant surveillance, aggressive infection control measures, and careful use of antibiotics are all critical components of efforts to control and prevent the spread of this bacterium.