Which sites should be cultured in the workup of Klebsiella infections?

Updated: Jun 10, 2019
  • Author: Shahab Qureshi, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Cultures should be obtained from possible sites (eg, wounds, peripheral or central intravenous access sites, urinary catheters, respiratory support equipment).

  • Klebsiellae may be isolated from blood, urine, pleural fluid, and wounds.

  • Klebsiellae are microaerophilic and, thus, can grow in the presence of oxygen or in its absence. They have no special culture requirements. Most species can use citrate and glucose as sole carbon sources; thus, they grow well on most ordinary media.

  • Klebsiellae are lactose-fermenting, urease-positive, and indole-negative organisms, although K oxytoca and some strains of K pneumoniae are exceptions. Klebsiellae do not produce hydrogen sulfide, and they yield positive results on both Voges-Proskauer and methyl red tests.

  • Wounds may be infected with Klebsiella organisms as the sole pathogens or as a component of a multipathogenic infection. Swabs for Gram stain and culture taken from possible sites may aid in establishing the diagnosis.

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