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Bleeding in gums. Will i get a blood infection from infected water?

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Infectious Diseases Specialist
Practicing since : 1973
Answered : 545 Questions
I have been using a waterpik unit that I discovered has a pink mold (Serratia marcescens?) in the tubing. I am concerned that I may get a blood infection from using this "infected water" around my teeth and gums. Especially since I was using it for minor bleeding gums.Worried that I introduced Serratia marcescens into my blood stream via waterpik. Any advice what I should do? Should I go to Dr and ask for a specific blood test?
Posted Sat, 23 Nov 2013 in Infections
Answered by Dr. Fatbardha Sejdini 1 hour later
Brief Answer: serratia marcescens,opportunistic pathogen... Detailed Answer: Hi, Serratia marcescens is an opportunistic microbe, commonly found in the environment. It is possible for the infection to take place. Suspection could arise if you have the following symptoms: - fever - chills - sepsis - vomiting or any other unusual symptom you might be experiencing. Once you notice them, can consult your Dr. for further tests. Apart blood and urine work, the doctor will ask for a blood culture to identify this pathogen. Hope it answered to your question! Dr.Bardha! p.s. if you have more concerns, feel free to ask me again!
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Follow-up: Bleeding in gums. Will i get a blood infection from infected water? 2 hours later
Thank you for your response. My follow up question: If Serratia marcescens gets into someone's bloodstream or system is it something that an individual with a healthy immune system could be immune too where the body handles it on its own?
Answered by Dr. Fatbardha Sejdini 19 hours later
Brief Answer: Serratia marcescens,weak immune system... Detailed Answer: Hi, Serratia marcescents is an opportunistic pathogens, it cannot cause infection commonly, but under certain conditions. It is mostly found in hospitals, known also as a common nosocomial infection In your case, the most probable "gate-of-entering" is through any wound you might have in your gums. However, chances are that you cannot develop Serratia bacteremia (spread of microbe in the bloodstream) as long as your immune system is healthy and/or you are not suffering from any other disease. This is because the infection is more common among those with low immune system, such as hospitalized patients or HIV individuals. Although the body tends to fight such infections, the culture of blood or urine or other body tissue swab for Serratia is necessary for the right diagnosis and treatment. Hope it answered to your questions! Feel free to ask other questions if you have any! Dr.Bardha
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Follow-up: Bleeding in gums. Will i get a blood infection from infected water? 5 hours later
My last question is IF someone was to become infected after exposure how long until symptoms appear? Is it a bacteria that has a long incubation period where there may be no immediate sign of infection until later or would it produce symptoms rather quickly? Thank you I am grateful for all your help :-)
Answered by Dr. Fatbardha Sejdini 18 hours later
Brief Answer: Please refer to the answer below... Detailed Answer: Hi again, With regards to your first question, which refers to incubation period, in fact, it is being considered as "unknown" until now. This is because this bacteria was considered as a "harmless" until outbreaks appear, especially in hospitalized patients. Indeed, these patients have shown signs of complications where Serratia were isolated. As I mentioned earlier, the more compromised the immunity of a person is, the higher the chances to get Serratia symptoms are. Please bare in mind that the symptoms are not typical as for Serratia, but they are related to the complications (urinary, lungs, brain, etc). So, if you notice one of them, once you are at your doctor's clinic, tell him/her about your history of using "infected water". Hope it answered to your inquiries! If you do have more questions, I'd be glad to assist you further. Otherwise, if you do not have more clarifications, I'd gently remind to close this thread and rate my answer. Dr.Bardha
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