Bacillus cereus is a rod-shaped gram- positive bacillus that can be found in food, dust, dirt and sometimes soil. It is an aerobe and a facultative anaerobe that can form spores, which if activated at any point can begin to germinate and produce toxins. These spores that form from B. cereus are be resistant to heat and chemicals.
B. cereus is found in approximately 25% of food sampled (3). Foods that are commonly associated with B. cereus are potatoes, rice, meat, vegetables, soups, and diary products. It is not contagious and is not transmitted human to human. Only if it is ingested or finds a way inside can it form toxins and become threatening to an individual.
B. cereus causes food poisoning, and there are two toxins involved; the emetic toxin and the diarrheal toxin. Nausea and vomiting are the main symptoms of the emetic toxin of B. cereus, and these symptoms kick in after approximately 1 -6 hours (incubation period) after ingestion. This form of B. cereus illness lasts about 8 to 10 hours. The diarrheal toxin has symptoms of watery diarrhea, abdominal pain and nausea that take an average of 7 to 20 hours (incubation period) to kick in. It is produced in the bowel lumen and it is the action of the bacterium on the small intestine that causes the diarrhea (1, 3). This form lasts about 20 – 36 hours (3). The emetic form is caused by a previously formed heat resistant toxin while the diarrheal from is caused by an in vivo production of a non heat resistant toxin. Both toxins can be formed outside the body and get in via vehicle transmission.
Food poisoning caused by B. cereus infection requires treatments like electrolyte replacement and re-hydration. Antibiotics are usually not required for treatment unless the patient has an invasive disease and prompts removal of any possibly infected objects like implants, catheters or central lines. Some antibiotics that B.cereus is susceptible to in vitro are ciproflaxin,...
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