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December 21, 1970

Serratia marcescens: Biochemical Characteristics, Antibiotic Susceptibility Patterns, and Clinical Significance

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn.

JAMA. 1970;214(12):2157-2162. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03180120029006

Serratia marcescens isolation can be accomplished more frequently when biochemical criteria are used to identify the Enterobacteriaceae. During a 14-month period, 176 strains of S marcescens were isolated, predominantly from hospitalized patients. Generally, these organisms were resistant to many antibiotics. Underlying factors were preceding antibiotic or inhalation therapy and surgery and instrumentation of the urinary tract. Most strains confined to urine or sputum samples caused infections of low morbidity, but when there was associated wound or blood-stream infection the death rates were high. The isolation of S marcescens should not be ignored because it is a life-threatening complication for certain hospitalized patients.