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Am J Med Sci. 2012 Aug;344(2):153-4. doi: 10.1097/MAJ.0b013e31824dd1df.

Acute epiglottitis due to Serratia marcescens in an immunocompetent adult.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, USA.


Acute epiglottitis (AE) is inflammation of the epiglottis and contiguous tissues, which carries a potential for complete airway obstruction. With routine pediatric immunization for Hemophilus influenzae serotype b, epiglottitis is now more prevalent in adults, with a shift in the causative organisms and a change in the natural history of this disease. Over the past 5 decades, Serratia marcescens has gone from being recognized as a harmless saprophyte to an important opportunistic human pathogen. It is known to be associated with outbreaks of nosocomial infections, but it is an uncommon cause of serious invasive infections in patients presenting from the community. The authors present a fatal case of AE caused by S marcescens in a previously immunocompetent 58-year-old woman, which was complicated by fasciitis, myositis and bacteremia. To the authors' knowledge, till date, only 3 cases of AE by S marcescens have been reported, all in immunocompromised patients.

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