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Habitat Association of Klebsiella Species

  • Susan T. Bagley (a1)


The genus Klebsiella is seemingly ubiquitous in terms of its habitat associations. Klebsiella is a common opportunistic pathogen for humans and other animals, as well as being resident or transient flora (particularly in the gastrointestinal tract). Other habitats include sewage, drinking water, soils, surface waters, industrial effluents, and vegetation. Until recently, almost all these Klebsiella have been identified as one species, ie, K. pneumoniae. However, phenotypic and genotypic studies have shown that “K. pneumoniae” actually consists of at least four species, all with distinct characteristics and habitats. General habitat associations of Klebsiella species are as follows: K. pneumoniae—humans, animals, sewage, and polluted waters and soils; K. oxytoca—frequent association with most habitats; K. terrigena— unpolluted surface waters and soils, drinking water, and vegetation; K. planticola—sewage, polluted surface waters, soils, and vegetation; and K. ozaenae/K. rhinoscleromatis—infrequently detected (primarily with humans).


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Department of Biological Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931


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