Monday, October 8, 2012

# 137 - KPC - Klebsiella Pneumoniae

Being told you have a bacterial infection is something most of us have experienced. Most of us have had to take anti-biotics for some reason or another. Some bacterial infections are rather simple and others are becoming difficult to treat because the bacteria are building up their own resistance, their own defenses, against anti-biotics of today.

I have another doctor appointment tomorrow, but a couple of months ago, I was tested and shown to have Klebsiella Pneumoniae bacteria. I had never heard of the word. However, I was not very worried, not until I began to see this word pop-up in the news. Then, I began to feel guilty for not pushing my own health issues through because I had allowed myself to fall through the cracks.

Personally, I am thankful that it appears I do not have symptoms, even though I have tested positive for the bacteria Klebsiella pneumoniae. However, I am getting a double-check on that tomorrow. I did speak with the diagnosing doctor's office today to confirm the presence of this bacteria and will see my Internal Medicine doctor tomorrow to see if I should go ahead and start on a preventative round of anti-biotics. I'm still learning about this bacteria, but am grateful it's not the KPC variety.

Most important, after I read such terrible things regarding this bacteria and felt like I was spinning in circles, a profound source helped me to sift through the basics regarding this bacteria. That's when I truly began to understand that Klebsiella is a bacteria that has been around for a long time and you can have the bacteria in your system, but NOT BE INFECTED. This source helped me to understand that 1 in 100 people might test positive for this bacteria, but they might never get sick because their immune system keeps the bacteria from colonizing into an infection.

However, when it is KPC, it is dangerous. KPC is a variant of Klebsiella.

Very often, a person with this bacteria that has colonized will end up very sick. If a person develops sepsis and dies, the family members might not even know that KPC was involved or they might hear the word Klebsiella mingled with the word sepsis and it would be critical to know this because it means the patient was exposed to bacteria, most likely while in the hospital for the initial reason they were admitted.

If you or someone you have known has been very ill from a KPC infection or if someone you know has died from a KPC complicated infection, please email me.

For those of us with weakened immune systems, this bacteria is definitely a concern. If you are going to be hospitalized, be sure to speak up about health care workers being diligent with their hand-washing and sanitation efforts. If the health care worker comes into your room, washes their hands, puts on rubber gloves then proceeds to touch the bed railing, the remote control, the room door handle, the sink faucets...then that person is not exactly protecting YOU from bacteria, they are only protecting themselves; You should SPEAK UP. Remind them that you are not wearing a latex protective coating and could they rewash their hands and not touch other items before asking you to open your mouth or before handling items that will touch your own body fluids. It's Germ-Control 101.

Of course, if you're unconcscious, the hard fact is, you will depend on hospital staff to still maintain rigorous sanitation habits, even if your eyes can't keep an eye on their effort toward due diligence to not spread infection.

Again, if you have had an actual KPC infection or know who someone who does or who has died from one, email me at because we can take steps to bring awareness to this dangerous bacteria.

As for me, I am going to be getting more cultures done to make sure my bacteria has not become an infection or that it is not becoming that I can keep this bacteria in my body from colonizing to the point of creating a deadly infection.