The Animal-foods-environment interface of Klebsiella pneumoniae in Germany: an observational study on pathogenicity, resistance development and the current situation
Klebsiella (K.) pneumoniae as a multi-drug resistant (MDR) pathogen is an emerging challenge for clinicians worldwide. Virulence factors are capsular antigens, adherence factors, the O-lipopolysaccharide, and siderophores promoting infectivity. Mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance are inactivation of compounds via enzymes, change of membrane permeability, and alteration of the target site of the antimicrobial compound. In addition to environmental resistance, K. pneumoniae can survive increasing concentrations of disinfectants, if exposed. This review describes the temporal and spatial distribution of K. pneumoniae in the past decades in Germany, with emphases on the development of resistance in the non-human columns of the One-Health concept. In general, K. pneumoniae is a neglected pathogen in veterinary and environmental health, and the risk of human infection concerning animal contact and food consumption is barely investigated. Few reports exist (n = 26) on antibiotic resistance of isolates from non-human origin. Multi-drug resistance and extended-spectrum β-lactamase (MDR-ESBL) strains also resistant to carbapenems and antibiotics of the ß-lactam group harbor blaCTX-M, blaOXA, blaTEM, blaSHV, blaCMY, and PMQR have been found in animals, foods, and the environment. Colistin resistant strains carrying the mcr-1 gene were detected in wastewater. The blaCTX-M-15 and blaOXA-48 genes are the most frequently identified AMR genes in isolates of humans and were also the most predominant ESBL-genes in samples collected from animal hosts. Several aspects of the molecular epidemiology and resistance development of K. pneumoniae in farm animal populations, wildlife, and foods need intensive research. Environmental health has to be integrated into national research plans, as a lack of data is apparent. Increasing awareness of the fact that non-human sources can act as a reservoir for this pathogen has to be raised.