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Research Article

Infection with netilmicin resistant Serratia marcescens in a special care baby unit.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 287 doi: (Published 03 December 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;287:1701
  1. D A Lewis,
  2. P M Hawkey,
  3. WattsJA,
  4. D C Speller,
  5. R J Primavesi,
  6. P J Fleming,
  7. T L Pitt


    An outbreak of colonisation and infection with a netilmicin resistant strain of Serratia marcescens occurred in a special care baby unit. S marcescens was isolated from a total of 13 babies; significant infection occurred in five, of whom two died. Epidemiological investigation failed to detect a common source but gastrointestinal colonisation of babies formed a prolonged and possibly important reservoir for infection. Containment proved difficult until the unit was closed to new admissions, and even then spread to a temporary unit ensued. O Serotyping and bacteriophage typing disclosed a single epidemic strain. This produced an aminoglycoside acetylating enzyme (AAC(6')) conferring resistance to netilmicin and tobramycin and moderate resistance to amikacin. Use of gentamicin resulted in the isolation of serratia with increased resistance to all aminoglycosides, and, similarly, increased resistance to third generation cephalosporins emerged with their use.