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Bacillus cereus Food Poisoning

J. Glenn Morris Jr, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1981;141(6):711. doi:10.1001/archinte.1981.00340060019004.
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Bacillus cereus is a recent addition to the growing list of organisms known to cause food-borne disease. In the 1950s, Hauge1 published the first description of a food-borne B cereus outbreak based on his investigation of several outbreaks in Norway. Illness in these outbreaks was characterized preponderantly by diarrhea, with an incubation period of from ten to 12 hours. In the early 1970s, a second clinical syndrome associated with B cereus was identified in which vomiting was the primary symptom and in which the incubation period ranged from one to six hours.2 Unlike outbreaks of diarrheal B cereus food-borne disease, which have been associated with a variety of foods, rice has been implicated as the vehicle in almost all reported outbreaks of the emetic syndrome. These two different clinical syndromes seem to be associated with two different toxins produced by the bacteria: one toxin is heat labile—causes fluid


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