Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus licheniformis

Bacillus subtilis is a member of the Bacillus genus and is similar to B. cereus, except that its natural habitat is slightly different, and so the foods causing illness also differ. It has been recognized increasingly as a cause of GE, characterized mainly by vomiting. The incubation period is short, 2 or 3h, although many cases occur within 1 h. Foods implicated include meat and vegetable products such as meat pies, sausage rolls, curries with accompanying rice dishes, and even bread, crumpets, and pizza. The organism is present at high levels in implicated food (105-109cfu/g) and can be isolated easily from both food and feces. Another member of this genus, Bacillus licheniformis, tends to cause diarrhea. Cooked meats and vegetables have been implicated. The median incubation period is approximately 8 h. Other members of this genus can also cause FP.

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