Last Updated on December 29, 2023
What is Serratia Marcescens?
Serratia marcescens is a bacterium that is considered a healthcare-associated pathogen. On rare occasion, it has been known to cause outbreaks of hospital infection. It appears as a pink, orange, or red discoloration and thrives in damp environments such as medical solutions, lotions, antiseptics, medications, blood products, and sinks. S. marcescens can cause infections in the urinary tract, lower respiratory tract, and surgical wound sites.
Preventing the Spread of S. Marcescens
Serratia marcescens is thought to be spread by hand-to-hand transmission of hospital personnel. Artificial nails exposed to the contaminated liquids and environments described above have also been known to harbor the bacteria. Hand hygiene is the most important component in preventing infection. Since S. marcescens is commonly found growing in bathrooms (especially on tile grout, shower corners, toilet water lines, and basins), sanitation of these areas is can also help prevent its spread.
Our products use STER-L-RAY® Germicidal UV-C Lamps producing ultraviolet wavelengths at 254 nanometers, the region of germicidal effectiveness most destructive to harmful microorganisms including S. marcescens. Germicidal Ultraviolet (UV-C) surface disinfection will inactivate Serratia bacteria at the dosages listed below.
Serratia Marcescens : Classification & UV-C Dose for Inactivation
Who can it affect?
While anyone can develop an infection from Serratia, the groups listed below are at higher risk.
Where can it be found?
What can it infect?
Lower Respiratory Tract
How does it spread?
Contaminated Liquids and Instruments
People at High Risk for Contracting an Infection
Serratia marcescens is an opportunistic pathogen, producing infection whenever it gains access to a suitably compromised host. Hospital patients most at risk include:
- Individuals with debilitating or immunocompromising disorders
- People treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics
- ICU patients who are subjected to invasive instrumentation such as intravenous catheters, intraperitoneal catheters, or urinary catheters
- Individuals with prior instrumentation of the respiratory tract
Symptoms of an S. marcescens Infection
Due to the reality that Serratia marcescens can cause infections in several different areas of the body (urinary tract, lower respiratory tract, bloodstream, or the sites of surgical wounds), symptoms will vary greatly. A Serratia infection can also lead to meningitis or endocarditis.
Sources on Serratia marcescens:
The above information can be found on the following pages. Please read complete articles to learn more.
- CDC: Etymologia: Serratia marcescens, Emerging Infectious Diseases Volume 25, Number 11—November 2019
- NCBI: Serratia Marcescens—A Rare Opportunistic Nosocomial Pathogen and Measures to Limit its Spread in Hospitalized Patients
- Relias Media: Hand Cream, Artificial Fingernails, and Serratia marcescens—A Cautionary Tale
- Antimicrobe: Serratia marcescens
* Nominal germicidal UV dosage necessary to inactivate better than 99% of microorganism. See sources below.
- “The Use of Ultraviolet Light for Microbial Control,” Ultrapure Water, April 1989.
- Dr. Robert W. Legan, “Alternative Disinfection Methods-A Comparison of UV and Ozone”, Industrial Water Engineering, Mar/Apr 1982.
- Rudolph Nagy, Research Report BL-R-6-1059-3023-1, Westinghouse Electric Corporation.
- Bak Srikanth, “The Basic Benefits of Ultraviolet Technology”, Water Conditioning & Purification, December 1995.
Learn More & Shop Our Products to Inactivate Serratia Marcescens
Made in the USA from U.S. and imported parts, the Air & Surface Disinfection product lines from Atlantic Ultraviolet Corporation® are constructed of the highest quality materials and use germicidal UV-C lamps to disinfect air, inactivating microorganisms like Serratia marcescens.
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