Serratia marcescens: historical perspective and clinical review

Author: Yu, V.L.

Description: SERRATIA MARCESCENS is a bacterium recognized with increasing frequency as a cause of serious infection in man. This micro-organism has a romantic history dating to antiquity, when, because of production of a red pigment, it masqueraded as blood. In this century, this distinctive pigmentation, combined with its apparent low level of virulence, led to its use as a biologic marker. This article will review the more distinctive historical aspects of S. marcescens and discuss its clinical status as an emerging pathogen.

Subject headings: Aerosols; Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use; Biological Warfare; Child; Cross Infection/epidemiology/etiology; Drug Contamination; Endocarditis, Bacterial/etiology; Enterobacteriaceae Infections/drug therapy/epidemiology/transmission; History, Ancient; History, Medieval; History, Modern 1601-; Humans; Injections, Intravenous/adverse effects; Microbiology/history; Sepsis/etiology; Serratia marcescens/isolation & purification/pathogenicity; Substance-Related Disorders/complications; United States; Pathogenic bacteria

Publication year: 1979

Journal or book title: The New England Journal of Medicine

Volume: 300

Issue: 16

Pages: 887-893

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 1990