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Klebsiella pneumoniae of scalp, cough. Is it infectious? What treatment will cure this?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
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I am a 79 year old male with klebsiella pneumoniae of the scalp ( diagnosed by culture). A series of oral antibiotics along with topical antibiotics have not been able to cure this condition during the last 10 months. My dermatologist has not prescribed an effective treatment. I also have a lingering cough. What type of treatment will be effective to cure this, and what specialist should I see to get this treatment? Is KP of the scalp considered an infectious disease? If so, how is it transmitted? Could the cough be related to the KP of the scalp?
Posted Mon, 18 Jun 2012 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Prasad 25 hours later


Thanks for the query.

I am a general physician associated with department of dermatology in the past. I see that your query is addressed to a dermatologist. As no dermatologist have picked your query (which is a rare occurrence on this forum), I take this opportunity to answer on behalf of them.

Klebsiella pneumonia is a ubiquitous organism normally colonizing the skin and respiratory tract. Scalp infection with this microbe is considered an infectious disease. It doesn't spread by physical touch and so it is not highly contagious.
Skin /scalp infection can occur following trauma, as supper added infection from an earlier infection, diabetes, alcoholics, steroid therapy and in individuals with low immunity status.

Though skin infections are not common, Klebsiella pneumonia is well known to cause respiratory infections. It is one of the important causes of atypical pneumonia. It is possible that the cough you been having might be related to Klebsiella pneumonia infection. Complete hemogram, chest X-ray and sputum studies can confirm the presence of infection.

I understand your concern and the difficulties faced by persistent infection. There have been instances of drug resistance making the microbe resistant to commonly prescribed antibiotic in the community. If your symptoms are indeed due to infection, repeating the culture study along with drug sensitivity study can be helpful to understand the type of organism and antibiotics to which the microbe are sensitive.

I am sure a course of sensitive antibiotic will cure the infection. Your dermatologist can help you obtain the culture and sensitivity study.

As far as cough is concerned, you can consult a pulmonologist to rule to atypical pneumonia secondary to Klebsiella pneumonia.

Hope I have addressed all your queries. Let me know if I have missed out any of your concerns.

Get well soon!

Best Regards
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