Intravenous Drug Use: a Significant Risk Factor for Serratia Bacteremia

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Ther Adv Infect Dis. 2022 Feb 21;9:20499361221078116. doi: 10.1177/20499361221078116. eCollection 2022 Jan-Dec.


BACKGROUND: Serratia is an opportunistic pathogen known to cause an array of infectious presentations. Aside from case reports, intravenous (IV) drug use has not been adequately quantified as a major risk factor for Serratia infection.

METHODS: A retrospective cohort study of 103 adult patients admitted to four community hospitals in Ohio from January 2014 to December 2018 with a positive blood culture for Serratia species. A complete data set of 103 patients was analyzed for demographics, comorbidities, initial diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes. Outcomes were recurrence of infection, in hospital mortality, 90-day mortality, length of hospital stay (LOS), complications (endocarditis, osteomyelitis, abscess), and evaluation for resistance to third-generation cephalosporins and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) activity. Descriptive statistics were performed using frequencies for discrete variables and median [interquartile range (IQR)] for continuous variables.

RESULTS: Serratia marcescens was the predominate species 94 (91%). Demographics were White 88 (85%) and male 63 (62%); 42 (42%) were IV drug users. IV drug users were younger than non-IV drug users with a median (IQR) age of 40 [33-50] versus 71 years [41-72] and likely to have hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection 37 (88%) versus 3 (5%), p < 0.0001. Culture and susceptibility analysis revealed 36% of isolates with possible or confirmed ESBL production. The most common complications were endocarditis (12%) and osteomyelitis (10%). In-hospital mortality was 2%, 90-day mortality (2%), with 90-day readmission (21%). The median (IQR) LOS is 7 [3.25-14.75].

CONCLUSION: This is the largest study to our knowledge evaluating non-nosocomial Serratia bacteremia. Our study shows that a high proportion of patients hospitalized with a positive Serratia culture are IV drug users and have HCV co-infection. There is significant ceftriaxone resistance and ESBL activity noted in our population. Based on this, we suggest empiric treatment with cefepime or consider carbapenem therapy for Serratia bloodstream isolates pending full susceptibility data. Focus should be on proper antibiotic treatment as the readmission rate and LOS are high.

PMID:35222998 | PMC:PMC8864268 | DOI:10.1177/20499361221078116

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