Klebsiella spp. in endoscopy-associated infections: we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg

Infection. 2014 Feb;42(1):15-21. doi: 10.1007/s15010-013-0544-6. Epub 2013 Oct 29.


Purpose: Two endoscopy-associated nosocomial outbreaks caused by carbapenemase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae (CPKP) were recently observed in two German hospitals. In this study, we performed a systematic search of the medical literature in order to elucidate the epidemiology of Klebsiella spp. in endoscopy-associated outbreaks.

Methods: Medline, the Outbreak Database ( http://www.outbreak-database.com ) and reference lists of articles extracted from these databases were screened for descriptions of endoscopy-associated nosocomial outbreaks. The data extracted and analysed were: (1) the type of medical department affected; (2) characterisation of pathogen to species and conspicuous resistance patterns (if applicable); (3) type of endoscope and the grade of its contamination; (4) number and the types of infections; (5) actual cause of the outbreak.

Results: A total of seven nosocomial outbreaks were identified, of which six were outbreaks of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography-related infections and caused by contaminated duodenoscopes. Including our own outbreaks in the analysis, we identified one extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing K. pneumoniae strain and six CPKP strains. Insufficient reprocessing after the use of the endoscope was the main reason for subsequent pathogen transmission.

Conclusions: There were only two reports of nosocomial outbreaks due to Klebsiella spp. in the first three decades of endoscopic procedures, but seven additional outbreaks of this kind have been reported within the last 4 years. It is very likely that many of such outbreaks have been missed in the past because this pathogen belongs to the physiological gut flora. However, with the emergence of highly resistant (carbapenemase-producing) strains, strict adherence to infection control guidelines is more important than ever.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde / adverse effects*
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Cross Infection / microbiology*
  • Decontamination
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Disinfection
  • Endoscopes / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Klebsiella Infections / epidemiology*
  • Klebsiella Infections / microbiology*
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / enzymology
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / isolation & purification*
  • Prevalence
  • beta-Lactamases / metabolism


  • beta-Lactamases