Klebsiella Pneumoniae : Symptoms, Identification, Treatment

◉ How is Klebsiella pneumoniae transmitted? ?

Klebsiella pneumoniae is hand-borne, which means that this bacterium can be transmitted through person-to-person skin contact (caregiver hands), through contaminated objects or surfaces. The bacteria do not spread through the air.

In hospital settings, patients may also be exposed to K. pneumoniae when they are on ventilators (breathing machines) or have intravenous or ureteral catheters or wounds (injury or surgery).

The infection can develop from germs carried by the patient himself.

◉ Clinical Manifestations

Symptoms and treatment for Klebsiella pneumoniae infection differ depending on where the infection is located (blood, meninges, wound). It is the cause of many ailments, including:

  • Lung infections: of community or nosocomial origin (pneumonia or lung abscess).
  • Sepsis (blood infection).
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Meningitis
  • Intra-abdominal infection.
  • Pyogenic liver abscess.
  • Angina

◉ Classification and taxonomy

According NCBI Taxonomy Browser, The species Klebsiella pneumoniae belongs to the order Enterobacterales, the family Enterobacteriaceae and the genus Klebsiella.

It was first described in 1882 by Carl Friedlander and initially named Friedlander's bacillus, it was not until 1886 that the bacterium was given the name Klebsiella in honor of microbiologist Edwin Klebs.

Classification Klebsiella pneumoniae

◉ Biochemical test and identification of Klebsiella pneumoniae

  • Immobile bacteria
  • ONPG test : positive.
  • It ferments : Glucose, Glycerol, Inositol, Lactose (late), Maltose, Mannitol, Mannose, Melibiose, Raffinose, Rhamnose, Sorbitol, Sucrose, Trehalose, Xylose.
  • Gas production: positive.
  • H2S: negative.
  • Indole test: negative.
  • VP (Voges-Proskauer) test: positive.
  • Nitrate reduction: positive.
  • Methyl red: negative.
  • Citrate test: positive
  • Hydrolysis of urea (Urease): positive.
  • Hydrolysis of gelatin: negative.
  • Catalase test : positive
  • Oxydase test: negative
  • On TSI agar : yellow base, yellow slope.
  • On MacConkey agar : pink colonies (lactose positive).
  • On Hecktoen agar : yellow colonies.
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae on blood agar : colonies are large (about 4-6 mm in diameter), gray, opaque and somewhat mucoid.


  1. CDC - Klebsiella pneumoniae in Healthcare Settings
  2. Wen-Liang Yu, MD - Clinical features, diagnosis, and treatment of Klebsiella pneumoniae infection
  3. Michelle K. Paczosa et al - Klebsiella pneumoniae: Going on the Offense with a Strong Defense
  4. John V. Ashurst; Adam Dawson - Klebsiella Pneumonia
  5. Marie T. Pezzlo et al - color atlas of bacteriology
  6. NCBI Taxonomy Browser
  7. Sagar Aryal - Biochemical Test and Identification of Klebsiella pneumoniae
  8. Shahab Qureshi, MD, FACP et al - Klebsiella Infections Treatment & Management
  9. Michelle K. Paczosa et al - Klebsiella pneumoniae: Going on the Offense with a Strong Defense