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The Twin Threats of Klebsiella pneumoniae Infections: Antimicrobial Drug Resistance and Hypervirulence

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Klebsiella pneumoniae is generally an opportunistic pathogen that causes nosocomial infections in lung, the urinary tract, wound sites and blood in immunocompromised individuals or those with underlying diseases. However, the emergence and spread of multidrug-resistant strains of K. pneumoniae ...

Klebsiella pneumoniae is generally an opportunistic pathogen that causes nosocomial infections in lung, the urinary tract, wound sites and blood in immunocompromised individuals or those with underlying diseases. However, the emergence and spread of multidrug-resistant strains of K. pneumoniae worldwide has become a cause of concern, particularly those producing extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) and carbapenemase. The pathogen's ability to form biofilms on inserted devices such as urinary catheters and ventilator tubes has been proposed as one of the important mechanisms for hospital acquired infections. In addition, the independent emergence and spread of hypervirulent K. pneumoniae in East Asia and beyond is disturbing.

This form of K. pneumoniae primarily causes mono-microbial liver abscess, and is able to cause disease in healthy individuals. Until recently, the emergence of antibiotic resistance among these strains has been limited. Klebsiella-induced liver disease is primarily found in people of Asian descent and the reasons are not well defined. The threat of hypervirulent strains acquiring extensive antibiotic resistance calls for a greater understanding in the basic biology, ecology, virulence, transmission and epidemiology of the heterogeneous K. pneumoniae population.

This Research Topic will focus on studies and discussion regarding the evolution of K. pneumoniae, mechanism of virulence and disease spread, host susceptibility factors and the host immune response against K. pneumoniae. We welcome original research articles, reviews, and clinical reports that will shed light on the rise of the twin threats of hypervirulent and multi-drug resistant K. pneumoniae infections.

Image credit: David Dorward, Ph.D.; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)


Keywords: Klebsiella pneumoniae, antibiotic resistance, liver abscess, hypervirulence


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