Serratia marcescens is commonly isolated from the urine of patients with an indwelling urinary catheter and in the absence of symptoms is often regarded as a contaminant. A case of fatal Serratia marcescens septicaemia with meningitis, brain abscesses, and myocarditis discovered at necropsy is described. The patient was an 83 year old man with an indwelling urinary catheter who suffered from several chronic medical conditions and from whose urine Serratia marcescens was isolated at the time of catheterisation. Serratia marcescens can be a virulent pathogen in particular groups of patients and when assessing its significance in catheter urine specimens, consideration should be given to recognised risk factors such as old age, previous antibiotic treatment, and underlying chronic or debilitating disease, even in the absence of clinical symptoms.
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