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Bacillus spp. food poisoning


Image: CDC

The spores of Bacillus bacteria commonly contaminate raw foods and food materials, particularly foods in contact with the soil or of vegetable origin.

The spores of some species (especially Bacillus cereus and the 'Bacillus subtilis' group) survive cooking and can subsequently germinate and grow under favourable conditions, particularly those in warm kitchens.

Subsequent consumption of foods in which large numbers of Bacillus spp. have grown can cause gastrointestinal illness, either by the consumption of pre-formed toxin or by toxins produced by these bacteria in the gut.

Clinical information

Incubation period:
B. cereus - emetic syndrome: 1 to 5 hours; diarrhoeal syndrome: 8 to 16 hours.
B. subtilis - 10 minutes to 4 hours.
B. licheniformis - 2 to 14 hours.

Common clinical features:
B. cereus - emetic syndrome: Nausea, vomiting; diarrhoeal syndrome: Diarrhoea, abdominal pain.
B. subtilis - Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea.
B. licheniformis - diarrhoea, abdominal pain.

Reservoir:
No human or animal sources. Environment: soil, sediments, dust, vegetation. Food: cereal products, herbs and spices, dried foods, milk and dairy products, meat and meat products.

Transmission:
Contaminated cooked foods subjected to inadequate post-cooking temperature control during cooling and storage.

B. cereus: mainly rice dishes; occasionally pasta, meat or vegetable dishes, dairy products, soups, sauces, sweet pastry products.
B. subtilis group: mainly meat or vegetable with pastry products, cooked meat or poultry products; occasionally bakery products, including bread, crumpets, sandwiches, and ethnic meat or seafood dishes.


Image: CDC

The spores of Bacillus bacteria commonly contaminate raw foods and food materials, particularly foods in contact with the soil or of vegetable origin.

The spores of some species (especially Bacillus cereus and the 'Bacillus subtilis' group) survive cooking and can subsequently germinate and grow under favourable conditions, particularly those in warm kitchens.

Subsequent consumption of foods in which large numbers of Bacillus spp. have grown can cause gastrointestinal illness, either by the consumption of pre-formed toxin or by toxins produced by these bacteria in the gut.

Clinical information

Incubation period:
B. cereus - emetic syndrome: 1 to 5 hours; diarrhoeal syndrome: 8 to 16 hours.
B. subtilis - 10 minutes to 4 hours.
B. licheniformis - 2 to 14 hours.

Common clinical features:
B. cereus - emetic syndrome: Nausea, vomiting; diarrhoeal syndrome: Diarrhoea, abdominal pain.
B. subtilis - Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea.
B. licheniformis - diarrhoea, abdominal pain.

Reservoir:
No human or animal sources. Environment: soil, sediments, dust, vegetation. Food: cereal products, herbs and spices, dried foods, milk and dairy products, meat and meat products.

Transmission:
Contaminated cooked foods subjected to inadequate post-cooking temperature control during cooling and storage.

B. cereus: mainly rice dishes; occasionally pasta, meat or vegetable dishes, dairy products, soups, sauces, sweet pastry products.
B. subtilis group: mainly meat or vegetable with pastry products, cooked meat or poultry products; occasionally bakery products, including bread, crumpets, sandwiches, and ethnic meat or seafood dishes.

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