Baby blood poisoning: What is Bacillus cereus?

As 18 babies have been struck down with blood poisoning after contracting an infection from a suspected contaminated drip, here is what the intravenous fluid is thought to have been contaminated with:

  • Bacillus cereus is a bacterium found in dust, soil and vegetation.
  • It produces very hardy spores which in the right conditions can grow and create a toxin which causes illness.
  • It is likely to be on most surfaces.
  • These toxins can cause two types of illness: one type characterised by diarrhoea, and the other, by nausea and vomiting.
  • The duration of the illness can last about a day.
  • The symptoms can begin to show after six hours.

Source: Foodsafety.gov

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Number of baby blood poisoning cases rises to 21

Three more cases of blood poisoning linked to a batch of intravenous liquid given to babies have been identified. Public Health England said yesterday that a batch was "strongly linked" to the death of one baby and the illness of 20 others.