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What are the symptoms of a Klebsiella pneumoniae infection?

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Symptoms of a Klebsiella pneumoniae infection vary but may include pneumonia, surgical-site or wound infections, bloodstream infections or meningitis. These infections are often resistant to antibiotics, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The infections normally do not affect healthy people but commonly spread in health care settings.

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Klebsiella pneumoniae are bacteria that normally live in the human intestines where they do not cause problems. People at risk are often receiving treatment for other health conditions, according to the CDC. Patients using ventilators, intravenous catheters or antibiotics are at higher risk for infection.

Treating the infection is often difficult. If the doctor suspects a Klebsiella pneumoniae infection, he orders laboratory testing to determine which, if any, antibiotics are effective against the infection. If the doctor prescribes an antibiotic, the patient must take the full prescription even if the signs of infection clear before the course is complete, warns the CDC. Patients who do not complete the prescription risk reinfection.

While the infection often spreads by patient contact or through health care providers in medical facilities, the risk of it spreading to healthy family members is fairly low, reports the CDC; however, it is essential that family members or anyone coming in contact with a person with a Klebsiella pneumoniae infection follow proper hand hygiene procedures. The bacteria do not spread to others through the air.

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