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Klebsiella pneumoniae is well distributed in the environment and found to be associated primarily with wastes high in organic matter and human activity.
K. pneumoniae is a serious opportunistic pathogen of increasing concern in hospitals, where precolonization seems to be a prerequisite to infection. Epidemiological data are lacking to link infection with high K. pneumoniae concentrations in the environment. Presently, it cannot be enumerated reliably by primary plating methods.
The presence of K. pneumoniae in water indicates degraded quality, and it is probably as significant as finding Escherichia coli and a good indicator of pollution from certain organic wastes.
bacteria, water, coliform bacteria, klebsiella
Manager, Microbiology Section, Laboratory Services Branch, Ministry of the Environment, Rexdale, Ontario,