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Outbreak of Invasive Serratia marcescens among Persons Incarcerated in a State Prison, California, USA, March 2020-December 2022.

Serratia marcescens is an environmental gram-negative bacterium that causes invasive disease in rare cases. During 2020-2022, an outbreak of 21 invasive Serratia infections occurred in a prison in California, USA. Most (95%) patients had a history of recent injection drug use (IDU). We performed whole-genome sequencing and found isolates from 8 patients and 2 pieces of IDU equipment were closely related. We also identified social interactions among patients. We recovered S. marcescens from multiple environmental samples throughout the prison, including personal containers storing Cell Block 64 (CB64), a quaternary ammonium disinfectant solution. CB64 preparation and storage conditions were suboptimal for S. marcescens disinfection. The outbreak was likely caused by contaminated CB64 and propagated by shared IDU equipment and social connections. Ensuring appropriate preparation, storage, and availability of disinfectants and enacting interventions to counteract disease spread through IDU can reduce risks for invasive Serratia infections in California prisons.

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