Serratia marcescens is a member of the genus Serratia, which is a part of the family Enterobacteriaceae. Currently 14 species ofSerratia are recognized within the genus, eight of which are associated with human infection. Of the eight species implicated in clinical infection S. marcescens, S. liquefaciens and S. odorifera are best known. Of all Serratia species, S. marcescens is the most common clinical isolate and the most important human pathogen.
S. marcescens is credited with a long fanatical history dating back to antiquity, when, because of its ability to produce a red pigment it was described as having ‘masqueraded’ as blood . Early in this century, this distinctive red pigmentation of S. marcescens, combined with an apparent low level of virulence, led to its use as a biological marker of infection. Consequently, S. marcescens was used in a number of classic bacterial transmission experiments, which led to improved understanding of the epidemiology of infection. Under more controversial settings, S. marcescens was also used by the US military in a series of biological warfare test experiments conducted on the general population . From 1960 onwards, however, non-pigmented isolates of S. marcescenspredominated over pigmented strains in the clinical setting and were increasingly implicated in healthcare-associated infection particularly among compromised patients.
Serratia marcescens - Infectious Disease and Antimicrobial Agents
Image credits: Abeer Abdel-fattah