Klebsiella bacteria is dangerous due to contamination

A bacterium that is very dangerous sometimes occurs in hospitals and nursing homes. This bacterium is dangerous and resistant and cannot be treated with antibiotics. We can then speak of a dangerous situation and therefore the patient will be isolated in a separate department. This is hoped to prevent further infections. The bacteria settle in the intestines. It is expected that the klebsiella bacteria will continue to spread rapidly as soon as people start traveling more and can bring the bacteria with them.

  • Causes of contamination with bacteria that are resistant
  • Klebsiella or KPC bacteria is dangerous
  • What is the Klebsiella Oxa 48 bacterium
  • Spread
  • Measures to prevent contamination
  • Measures taken by the nursing home
  • European Center for disease prevention and control
  • Antibiotics do not work in these patients
  • The RIVM

Causes of contamination with bacteria that are resistant

People travel more and more and often bring bacteria with them from other countries. These then spread very quickly. The number of deaths caused by resistant bacteria has increased sharply in recent years. In the Netherlands this leads to 200 to 1000 serious infections per year. Especially in India, infections with ESBL (Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamasa-producing bacteria) are commonplace. This ESBL bacteria is found on meat, especially chicken meat, contains many bacteria. It is actually not a bacteria but an enzyme made by intestinal bacteria. The bacteria settle in the intestines. A second group forms the patient flow that is transferred from a hospital to a nursing home where people who often have less resistance stay. Sometimes the bacteria are then transported if it was not discovered in time.

Klebsiella or KPC bacteria is dangerous

Until 2010, there was no registration of this bacterium in the Netherlands because it was only found incidentally. A patient was admitted in Breda who had suffered a brain haemorrhage in Greece. This patient had spent five weeks in intensive care in Greece. She was infected with the Klebsiella bacteria, which is known as a particularly nasty bacteria. Another patient was infected with this bacteria in the hospital in Breda. This concerns an intestinal bacterium that is harmless to healthy people. However, the risk of spread is very high. When an infection occurs, it cannot be treated with antibiotics because the bacteria are resistant. All prescribed measures to prevent contamination are used, but the bacteria nevertheless spread. Microbiologists are conducting research into the possibilities of isolating the bacteria.

What is the Klebsiella Oxa 48 bacterium

It is a gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium that occurs in the mouth, the intestines and on the skin. The Klebsiella bacterium is a bacterium that naturally occurs in the intestines and does not cause disease there. The Klebsiella Oxa 48 is a special specimen that has the property that it can break down almost all antibiotics. The bacterium is named after the German-Swiss microbiologist Klebs. A multi-resistant variant has now emerged that is hardly treatable. If one is infected with this bacterium, serious complaints such as pneumonia or wound infection can occur. Even blood infection is possible. But urinary tract infections also occur.


The spread of the bacteria occurs through contact with the hands. The bacteria do not spread through the air, but only through human-to-human contact. Where certain types of antibiotics are used, the bacteria will spread easily. If it is thought that a patient is infected with the Klebsiella bacteria, a culture will be taken. The patient must also report if he or she thinks he or she is infected with the bacteria. People can also carry the klebsiella bacteria without becoming ill.

Measures to prevent contamination

It is important to wash your hands frequently, but in any case:

  • Before dinner
  • After going to the toilet
  • After blowing the nose
  • After coughing and/or sneezing
  • After physical examination
  • Before and after wound care

Measures taken by the nursing home

If there is an infection in a nursing home, immediate measures are taken. The nursing home is trying to prevent further spread with special means. That is why the patients are housed in a special department where they are nursed by nurses who only work in this department. Strict guidelines are adhered to and it is hoped that this will prevent further spread.

European Center for disease prevention and control

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has released an alarming report on the large number of spreads of these types of bacteria in Europe. The spread of the virus is increasing in sixteen countries, including the Netherlands and Belgium. E-colia and Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria. It turns out that there are more and more bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics. We should think of variants of skin bacteria and intestinal bacteria. These bacteria do not pose a risk to healthy people, but weakened, elderly or sick people are sensitive to the bacteria, which are difficult to treat. They can cause dangerous infections. The bacteria contain enzymes that are insensitive to the carbapenem type . This is precisely the last group of antibiotics that we can see as powerful agents with few side effects

Antibiotics do not work in these patients

As an example we can mention the contamination in ‘s Hertogenbosch. At the beginning of December 2015, eight patients infected with the klebsiella bacteria were isolated from two surgical wards in the Jeroen Bosch hospital in ‘s Hertogenbosch. They could not be treated with antibiotics. Four of these patients have now been discharged, but the bacteria has spread further, infecting another eight patients. The hospital has therefore decided to test all patients in the hospital for the bacteria and it turned out that people in four other departments also carry the bacteria. A recording stop was declared. This lasted until all patients who were infected could leave the hospital. The wards were then disinfected and only then were new patients admitted. The GGD has been informed. It is striking that these patients had not been abroad, but that the bacteria must have been transmitted in some other way. The hospital acted very carefully. They identified all patients who were carriers of the bacteria. All patients in the hospital were examined and there were a total of 2,000. A total of 23 patients were carriers of the bacteria, but the bacteria did not cause infections in any of the patients.


The RIVM has developed a protocol together with German, English and American scientists that makes it possible to quickly detect the disease. It is hoped that this will provide another opportunity to prevent the spread.