How Is Klebsiella Pneumoniae Spread?

Klebsiella pneumoniae is spread through exposure to the Klebsiella bacteria from an infected person, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Exposure typically occurs by way of person-to-person contact or environmental contamination in health care settings. The bacterium doesn’t spread through the air but is transmittable through medical devices, such as ventilators and IV catheters.

The spread of Klebsiella pneumoniae can be stopped by strict adherence to hand washing and gown-wearing when in the presence of a person diagnosed with Klebsiella pneumoniae, according to the CDC. Hands must be washed very regularly, including before preparing or eating foods, after using the bathroom, before touching the eyes, nose or mouth, before and after changing bandages and after coughing or sneezing. When in a public place, such as a hospital, hands must be washed after touching railings, tables, doorknobs, phones or remote controls.

Many types of Klebsiella bacteria have become drug resistant, making treating the infection more difficult, according to the CDC. When a Klebsiella pneumoniae infection is diagnosed, laboratory tests are used to determine which antibiotics can properly treat the bacteria and cure the infection. In healthy people, the risk of contracting Klebsiella pneumoniae is low when good hand washing is employed.