Serratia marcescens

Serratia marcescens is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium that belongs to the genus Serratia.

Serratia marcescens can cause the following infections and diseases, among others:

  • Urinary tract infections

  • Conjunctivitis

  • Respiratory infections

  • Wound infections

  • Endocarditis (inflammation of the heart’s inner lining)

  • Sepsis

Serratia marcescens is found in soil, water, plants, and animals. It can also form biofilms.

Relevance of pathogen in transmission in endoscopy

  • Gastroenterology: Low

  • Pulmonology: Low

  • Ear, nose, and throat: Not relevant

  • Urology: Low

Relevance for endoscope processing 

  • High concern organism

Transmission route

Infections can occur through the environment, direct human to human contact, or through touching contaminated objects.

Resistance to antibiotics

Serratia marcescens is an ESBL-producing strain (ESBL = extended-spectrum beta-lactamase) and exhibits resistance to several antibiotics. The bacterium is resistant to penicillins, carbapenems, and macrolides.

Sources and further readings

  1. Gries O, Ly T: Infektologie – Kompendium humanpathogener Infektionskrankheiten und Erreger, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2019.

  2. Hejazi A./Falkiner F. R. Serratia marcescens, J. Med. Microbiol. - Vol. 46 (1997), 903–912.

  3. Kovaleva J. Transmission of Infection by Flexible Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and Bronchoscopy, Clinical Microbiology Reviews p. 231–254.

  4. Mahlen S. D. Serratia Infections: from Military Experiments to Current Practice, Clin Microbiol Rev. 2011 Oct; 24(4): 755–791, Accessed on 04.22.2021.