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Bacillus Cereus Poisoning

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  • Bacillus Cereus Poisoning

Bacillus cereus poisoning is a foodborne infection caused by Bacillus cereus bacterium. It is an organism that occurs naturally in soil and found in many different foods. Bacillus cereus can often survive during processing and storage of foods. Therefore, it is a danger in some food products.

Bacillus Cereus Poisoning

Bacillus Cereus can multiply rapidly at 30 °C, doubling in 20 minutes to 3 hours, depending on various food products. Therefore, it may vary depending on the environment. Spores may not die because food is not cooked or preserved properly. Some Bacillus spores survive in foods cooked at 100 °C or lower. Foods that will not be consumed immediately or quickly frozen should be kept below 10 °C or above 50 °C. Because the number of bacteria generally  increases between 10 °C and 50 °C.

Bacillus cereus poisoning is generally associated with two different types of poisoning:

Invasive Type Poisoning: This type of poisoning occurs as a result of the proliferation of Bacillus cereus bacteria within the body. Bacteria that usually multiply in the intestines produce toxins, and these toxins can cause digestive system disorders. Invasive poisoning may manifest itself with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and nausea. These symptoms are usually mild or moderate.

Toxin Type Poisoning: Toxins produced by Bacillus cereus bacteria accumulate in food products. Toxin type poisoning is experienced due to consumption of these toxins. These toxins act rapidly in the digestive system and cause poisoning. Toxin-type Bacillus cereus poisoning occurs suddenly and severely.

What are the symptoms of Bacillus Cereus Poisoning?

Symptoms of Bacillus cereus poisoning can often vary depending on the amount of food consumed, toxin levels, and individual sensitivity. But it usually has the following symptoms:

Vomiting: One of the most common symptoms of Bacillus cereus poisoning is sudden and severe vomiting. This vomiting usually begins within a few hours after eating the food.

Diarrhea: Bacillus cereus poisoning can also cause frequent, watery diarrhea. Diarrhea is a symptom that usually begins after vomiting.

Abdominal Pain: Patients may have pain or discomfort in the abdominal area. These pains are usually mild or moderate.

Nausea: Patients may experience nausea and do not want to eat.

Weakness: Bacillus cereus poisoning may cause a feeling of weakness in patients.

Symptoms usually appear during the period when the patient is under the influence of the consumed food. They usually go away on their own within 48 hours. Most cases of Bacillus cereus poisoning are mild to moderate. Serious complications of this poisoning are rare. But symptoms can be more serious for the elderly, children, and people with weakened immune systems.

It is important to follow food safety rules to avoid Bacillus cereus poisoning. Storing food at the right temperature, especially in hot weather, and preparing and consuming food hygienically can help prevent food poisoning. If severe symptoms occur or if symptoms persist for a long time, it is important to contact a healthcare professional.

How to Prevent Bacillus Cereus Poisoning

Bacillus cereus bacteria must reach a certain number for food poisoning. Food poisoning will not occur unless this number is reached.

To prevent food poisoning with Bacillus cereus, it is necessary to control bacterial growth in foods.

Wash food properly before eating.

Do not leave prepared food unheated for a long time and store it in the refrigerator (10 or less).

Consume cooked food as soon as possible. In other words, keep the time between cooking and consuming the meal short.

When storing food after heating, keep it in the refrigerator at 10 °C or lower.

Avoid reheating dishes such as cooked rice and spaghetti and eating them the next day.

To avoid food poisoning, you must cool foods sufficiently or keep them warm above 65+°C. This way you can prevent the reproduction of microbes or the germination of spores.

In most cases, the symptoms associated with this condition will go away on their own. If the disease is serious, you should definitely see a doctor.

Foods That Cause Bacillus Cereus Poisoning

It has been commonly found as an active ingredient in fried rice, rice, spaghetti and fried noodles for the last five years. It is common for grains such as rice and wheat to come into contact with the soil. Therefore, they are likely to be contaminated with Bacillus cereus.

Bacillus cereus causes the emergence of heat-resistant spores. Even if food is cooked at room temperature, some bacteria easily survive and multiply during cooling. Therefore, it is necessary to take precautions to avoid storing cooked foods for a long time.

Food microbiological testing is very important to check the contamination status of foods. This test, performed periodically, is a very good preventive procedure.

Toxins Caused by Bacillus Cereus

Vomiting Toxin: Cereulide, a toxin that is extremely resistant to heat, acid and proteolysis occurring in food during the reproduction of vegetative cells, is absorbed. Absorption of the toxin (poisoning) causes nausea and vomiting within a few hours. Symptoms usually go away on their own within a few days. Cereulide poisoning is usually caused by consumption of starchy, cooked foods such as rice or pasta.

Diarrhea Toxin: Vegetative cells and spores are absorbed by foodborne Bacillus cereus. After spores germinate in the small intestine, vegetative cells produce enterotoxins. Enterotoxins are sensitive to heat, acid and proteases. They typically cause diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Unlike spores, absorbed vegetative cells and enterotoxins formed in food are largely inactivated as they pass through the gastrointestinal tract. The incubation period for diarrhea is 6 to 24 hours.

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