by Rideeta Raquib
Healthcare-acquired infections or HAI are illnesses acquired from healthcare environments, such as hospitals or rehabilitation clinics. It is a serious issue which affects thousands of people every year and multiplies healthcare costs significantly. Klebsiella Pneumoniae, a harmful HAI agent has been attributed to causing illnesses through colonizing and transmitting infection. One of the strains of Klebsiella Pneumoniae, known as ST258, is found to be resistant to multiple antibiotics and drugs. Previous efforts required a longer duration for detection, but a new tool, called the KlebSeq, has provided a faster means of detection of K. Pneumoniae. This new technique involves a process called amplicon sequencing, which quickly accesses patients and could identify the type of strain of the Klebsiella Pneumoniae, the types of drugs it is resistant to, and even whether there are any potential risks of outbreaks.
Older methods were usually culture based, which are complicated due to requirements such as specificity and tedious labor. PCR assays were one of the more effective and quicker processes, but since they mainly utilize DNA, there are restrictions in the number of assays that can be produced at a time. In the study to observe effectiveness of the KlebSeq, DNA and assays were taken from various medical centers in Arizona. In about 200 specimens, which included specimens from the respiratory system, such as nasal swabs and tracheal aspirates, as well as urine and wound swab specimens, KlebSeq managed to accurately detect the presence of Klebsiella Pneumoniae.
Overall KlebSeq and PCR have the same limitations in terms of using DNA and having limited assays at a given time, but KlebSeq provides more data after each assay. There is high importance in being able to distinguish different types of Klebsiella, as well as preventing patients from transmitting HAIs. Exploring the intricacies of this new technology could also aid researchers in detection of other infections affecting human health in the future.
- R. Bowers, et al., Klebseq: a diagnostic tool for surveillance, detection and monitoring of klebsiella pneumoniae. Journal of Clinical Microbiology (2016). doi: 10.1128/JCM.00927-16.
- Image acquired from: http://klebsiella-pneumoniae.org/klebsiella_pneumoniae_2.jpg