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Clin Infect Dis. 2001 May 15;32(10):1456-62. Epub 2001 Apr 20.

Bacillus cereus bacteremia and meningitis in immunocompromised children.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN 38105, USA.


Two cases of Bacillus cereus meningitis in immunocompromised children at our hospital within a 2-month period prompted us to review B. cereus--related invasive disease. We identified 12 patients with B. cereus isolated in blood cultures from September 1988 through August 2000 at our institution. Three of these patients also had B. cereus isolated from CSF specimens; 1 additional patient had possible CNS involvement (33%, group A), whereas 8 patients had no evidence of CNS involvement (67%, group B). Patients in group A were more likely to have neutropenia at the onset of sepsis and were more likely to have an unfavorable outcome. They were also more likely to have received intrathecal chemotherapy in the week before the onset of their illness. Two patients from group A died. One survived with severe sequelae. The fourth patient had mild sequelae at follow-up. No sequelae or deaths occurred among patients in group B. In patients with unfavorable outcomes, the interval from the time of recognition of illness to irreversible damage or death was short, which demonstrates a need for increased awareness, early diagnosis, and more-effective therapy, particularly that which addresses B. cereus toxins.

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