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What is Klebsiella?

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Klebsiella is a genus of rod-shaped bacteria named for the bacteriologist Edwin Klebs. Although it is normally found in the digestive tract and human feces, it can cause infection when present in other parts of the body.

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Klebsiella can be spread by person-to-person contact, but is not spread through the air. It is most commonly spread in health care settings. Open wounds, catheters and ventilators increase the risk of patient exposure. Pneumonia, urinary infections and bacterial meningitis can result from Klebsiella infection. Because many species of Klebsiella have become resistant to broad-spectrum antibiotics such as penicillin, these infections are dangerous and require aggressive treatment.

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