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Am J Epidemiol. 1976 Jun;103(6):589-94.

An outbreak of Bacillus cereus food poisoning resulting from contaminated vegetable sprouts.


In an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness caused by consumption of home-grown raw vegetable sprouts contaminated by Bacillus cereus, victims developed symptoms after an incubation period of 6-15 hours. Four persons initially experienced nausea and vomiting, and this was followed in 3 cases by abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Bacteriologic investigation indicated that B. cereus on unsprouted seeds proliferated during germination in a commercially sold seed sprouting kit and reached levels in excess of 10(7) per gram. B. cereus isolated from the incriminated sprouts exhibited enterotoxigenic activity when tested by the ligated rabbit ileal loop technique, the dermal reaction in guinea pigs, and the rabbit skin capillary permeability test. The diversity of symptoms and incubation periods attributed to B. cereus requires analysis for this often overlooked organism whenever food-borne gastroenteritis is suspected.

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