The emergence of Serratia marcescens septicemia as a new threat in surgery is shown by the occurrence of 42 cases of this infection at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in the seven years between 1962 and 1969. A sharp increase has been documented in 1965 and 1966. In the past the S marcescens has been generally considered to have little or no virulence.
Many of the manifestations of S marcescens sepsis are similar to those associated with septicemia caused by other gram-negative organisms. Most of the cases were related to antecedent or concurrent antibiotic therapy, usually employing large dosages. The sources of infections were usually the urinary tract, thrombophlebitis at a continuous intravenous site, or the respiratory tract following respiratory assistance therapy or tracheostomy.
The mortality in this series of 42 patients was 40%, indicating its seriousness in debilitated surgical patients with predisposing or preexisting diseases.
Recently an increasing
Altemeier WA, Culbertson WR, Fullen WD, McDonough JJ. Serratia marcescens SepticemiaA New Threat in Surgery. Arch Surg. 1969;99(2):232-238. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1969.01340140104015