An outbreak of Serratia marcescens infections in a neonatal unit

Lancet. 1984 Jan 21;1(8369):151-3. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(84)90074-6.


Over a 15-month period 732 babies were admitted to a neonatal unit, and Serratia marcescens was isolated from 153 (21%). In one-fifth (34) a clinical infection (9 major and 25 minor) developed. Major infection was associated with high mortality and morbidity and 2 cases presented after the neonatal period. No environmental reservoir was found. Colonised symptom-free neonates were considered to be the source, with transmission by staff-baby contact despite adequate hand-washing. Overcrowding was believed to be responsible for the difficulties experienced in eradicating this transmission.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Disease Outbreaks / epidemiology*
  • England
  • Enterobacteriaceae Infections / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Nurseries, Hospital
  • Serratia marcescens / isolation & purification