Morganella Infections

Morganella Infections

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Morganella morganii is a gram-negative rod commonly found in the environment and in the intestinal tracts of humans, mammals, and reptiles as normal flora. Despite its wide distribution, it is an uncommon cause of community-acquired infection and is most often encountered in postoperative and other nosocomial settings. M morganii infections respond well to appropriate antibiotic therapy; however, its natural resistance to many beta-lactam antibiotics may lead to delays in proper treatment.

The genus Morganella belongs to the tribe Proteeae of the family Enterobacteriaceae. The Proteeae, which also include the genera Proteus and Providencia, are important opportunistic pathogens capable of causing a wide variety of nosocomial infections. Currently, Morganella contains only a single species, M morganii, with 2 subspecies, morganii and sibonii. M morganii was previously classified under the genus Proteus as Proteus morganii.

In the late 1930s, M morganii was identified as a cause of urinary tract infections. Anecdotal reports of nosocomial infections began to appear in the literature in the 1950s and 1960s. Tucci and Isenberg reported a cluster epidemic of M morganii infections occurring over a 3-month period at a general hospital in 1977. [1] Of these infections, 61% were wound infections and 39% were urinary tract infections.

In 1984, McDermott reported 19 episodes of M morganii bacteremia in 18 patients during a 5.5-year period at a Veterans Administration hospital. [2] Eleven of the episodes occurred in surgical patients. The most common source of bacteremia was postoperative wound infection, and most infections occurred in patients who had received recent therapy with a beta-lactam antibiotic. Other important epidemiological risk factors in these studies included the presence of diabetes mellitus or other serious underlying diseases and advanced age.

In 2011, Kwon et al reported a case of a 65-year-old man with an infected aortic aneurysm in which the pathogen was M morganii. Diagnosis requires a high index of suspicion and imaging tests. [3]  

M morganii has been associated with urinary tract infections, sepsis, pneumonia, wound infections, musculoskeletal infections, CNS infections, pericarditis, chorioamnionitis, endophthalmitis, empyema, and spontaneous bacterial peritonitis.

United States

M morganii is a rare cause of severe invasive disease. It accounts for less than 1% of nosocomial infections. M morganii is usually opportunistic pathogen in hospitalized patients, particularly those on antibiotic therapy.

The prognosis depends on the type of infection and the particular host.

Data suggest that inappropriate antimicrobials (ones that an organism is resistant to) are associated with a worse outcome.

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Vinogradov E, Nash JH, Foote S, Young NM. The structure of the Morganella morganii lipopolysaccharide core region and identification of its genomic loci. Carbohydr Res. 2015 Jan 30. 402:232-5. [Medline].

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James R Miller, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; Consulting Staff, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Naval Medical Center at Portsmouth

James R Miller, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Society for Microbiology, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

John W King, MD Professor of Medicine, Chief, Section of Infectious Diseases, Director, Viral Therapeutics Clinics for Hepatitis, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center; Consultant in Infectious Diseases, Overton Brooks Veterans Affairs Medical Center

John W King, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American College of Physicians, American Federation for Medical Research, Association of Subspecialty Professors, American Society for Microbiology, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Sigma Xi

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD Professor, Chief of Infectious Disease, Department of Internal Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine

Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Society for Microbiology, International Immunocompromised Host Society, Infectious Diseases Society of America

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Morganella Infections

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