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Klebsiella pneumoniae

Life in pink

Klebsiella pneumoniae is an elongated, rod-shaped bacterium that stains pink and not violet under a Gram stain1. It is said to be a Gram-negative2 bacillus. Klebsiella pneumoniae is widely present in the normal flora of our intestines and is classified in the Enterobacteriaceae family3.

Surrounded by a capsule

As its name suggests, Klebsiella pneumoniae is a bacterium that affects the lung, causing pneumonia. Pneumonia caused by Klebsiella can be complicated by lung abscesses, in part because of the presence of a capsule4 that protects the bacteria from phagocytosis5 by white blood cells.

Antibiotic resistant

Klebsiella pneumoniae is an important agent of hospital-acquired infections6. Some Klebsiella exhibit genes that allow them to resist to the broad-spectrum7 antibiotics used to treat severe infections in hospitals. Initially documented in New Delhi, one of the highly resistant strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae is producing a carbapenem8 antibiotic-degrading enzyme, which has made Klebsiella pneumoniae famous as an example of a public health threat.