In a dental practice it’s important to defend against harmful bacteria, especially in light of increased drug resistance to antibiotics. Klebsiella pneumoniae is particularly worrisome, and therefore professionals should be aware of how to prevent these bacteria from spreading.
A rise in resistance
Bacteria can resist antibiotics in a number of ways and strains that develop this resistance can continue to multiply and become a serious health hazard, possibly even resulting in epidemics.
Klebsiella pneumoniae has already formed a resistance to some forms of antimicrobial drugs, and is therefore a serious threat as it can cause a number of nasty illnesses. In fact, in 2016 a patient infected by klebsiella pneumoniae died after the bacteria resisted all 26 types of American antibiotics administered to defeat the infection.
So what is klebsiella pneumoniae?
In simple terms, klebsiella pneumoniae is a type of bacteria that is commonly found in our intestines, faeces and sometimes in small amounts in our oral cavities. Whilst it doesn’t cause infection where it naturally occurs, when spread from person to person these bacteria can cause life-threatening illnesses including pneumonia, meningitis, bloodstream infections and respiratory tract infections.
The mortality rate for those with klebsiella-induced conditions is thought to be between 20-60%. This high mortality rate just goes to show how important it is to prevent these bacteria from spreading in healthcare environments, as treating any infections poses difficulties.
From one to another
Klebsiella pneumoniae can pass easily through hand to hand contact and can live on surfaces for extended periods of time. One study even found the bacteria thriving on the London underground, showing how easily they can be transferred in highly-populated environments.
In a dental practice setting this raises a number of concerns. Due to the steady daily flow of patients who may be harbouring the bacteria on their hands, as well as the fact that klebsiella pneumoniae can also be found in the oral cavity, dentists are likely to come into contact with it at some point. Indeed, one study even revealed that the bacteria can colonise in the root canals of teeth and cavities if patients have poor oral hygiene, easily spreading to the hands of dental professionals and potentially to other patients from there.
Hand hygiene is essential
In light of the bacteria primarily being spread through interpersonal contact, it’s paramount that professionals exercise good hand hygiene at all times.
The Steri-7 Xtra Personal Care Range of products from Initial Medical is particularly effective. As well as deactivating 99.9999% of pathogens including klebsiella pneumoniae, the hand wash and hand rub also form a barrier of protection against bacteria that lasts for up to three hours, making them ideal for regular use in healthcare settings.
Keep them safe
By following proper hand hygiene protocols and using products that can deactivate harmful bacteria, klebsiella pneumoniae needn’t be a threat. By following these simple steps you can stop the spread of infection and even save lives.
Help your colleagues practice proper handwashing technques: download our poster on handwashing for your business.