Can Klebsiella be harmful to people?

Yes. Klebsiella can make people sick, and even cause death, when ingested in large numbers or by people who have a health condition that makes them vulnerable (i.e. immunocompromised). Studies have shown that, in general, strains of this bacterium from plants, soil, or water are as likely to cause illness as those from animals or people (Struve, 2004). Estimates are that ingesting 100 ml (about 3 oz.) of drinking water containing 35 Klebsiella per ml could be a risk to susceptible people (American Water Works Association, 1999). Klebsiella has been linked to illness outbreaks from contaminated iced tea (Tauxe, 1996) and turkey (Rennie, 1990).

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1. How does fecal bacteria pollution get into water?
2. Why do we test for indicator bacteria instead of pathogens to determine if water is healthy?
3. Are wastewater treatment plants polluting the Nooksack River?
4. Is pollution from the Lummi Reservation causing high fecal coliform bacteria levels in Portage Bay?
5. Can wildlife contribute to high fecal bacteria levels in water?
6. Do agencies use DNA testing to identify sources of fecal bacteria?
7. What can I do about fecal bacteria pollution?
8. Who can help me prevent manure-related pollution?
9. Who can help me prevent pollution from my septic system?
10. Has the state’s surface water quality standard for bacteria changed recently?
11. How does Whatcom County decide when to sample water?
12. Can wood waste (decomposing wood or vegetation) contribute to bacteria pollution?
13. Can Klebsiella be harmful to people?
14. Who enforces codes and laws related to protecting water quality?
15. What does “non-regulatory technical assistance” mean?