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Infections due to Serratia species

Rebekah Moehring, MD, MPH
Steven Mahlen, PhD, D(ABMM)
Section Editor
Stephen B Calderwood, MD
Deputy Editor
Allyson Bloom, MD


Serratia species are gram-negative bacilli of the Enterobacteriaceae group of bacteria, although they are not a common component of healthy human fecal flora. In the early part of the 20th century, Serratia marcescens was considered a nonpathogenic organism and was used in medical experiments and as a biological warfare test agent [1]. Since the mid-1970s, however, Serratia species have been recognized to cause a full spectrum of human clinical disease. Additionally, Serratia species may harbor multidrug resistance mechanisms that can complicate treatment decisions.

This article will review the microbiology, epidemiology, clinical features, diagnosis, and treatment of infections caused by Serratia species.

Detailed discussion of particular infectious syndromes (eg, complicated cystitis or hospital-acquired pneumonia) that Serratia can cause can be found separately in topics dedicated to that syndrome:

(See "Acute complicated cystitis and pyelonephritis".)

(See "Epidemiology, pathogenesis, microbiology, and diagnosis of hospital-acquired and ventilator-associated pneumonia in adults" and "Treatment of hospital-acquired and ventilator-associated pneumonia in adults".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Aug 01, 2016.
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