Bandemia is a disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus cereus. It is one of the most common diseases worldwide. It affects children and adults at different ages. There are many types of bandemia, but they all have similar symptoms: fever, headache, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting, fatigue and weakness. The illness may last from 2 days to several weeks or even months.
The symptoms of bandemia are very unpleasant. They include:
fever, headache, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting, fatigue and weakness.
Bacillus cereus bacteria cause bandemia. The bacteria enter the body through contaminated water or food. Most cases occur when someone drinks tap water (which contains the bacterium) or eats raw fish (which often contain it). People with weak immune systems are more susceptible to infection due to their weakened defenses against infections.
People with a healthy immune system usually fought off the infection and become ill for only a short time.
Infections most commonly occur in developing countries, but they can occur anywhere in the world where contaminated food and water are found. The bacteria can survive for months or even years in soil or dust and on moist surfaces. This means that it can survive for a long time, even in places that appear clean. Food may become contaminated by this bacterium from water, soil, or from an infected person.
The infection is more likely to occur in places where food is not stored or prepared carefully.
The infection caused by the bacteria is common in countries that lack proper health regulations for food storage and preparation. It is one of the most common causes of diarrhea in infants and children and hospitalizes more than 10 million people each year. The infection is rare in developed countries, where food and water are carefully regulated.
As many as 10% of infants and young children in developing countries get infected with bandemia. Young children are more susceptible to the infection due to their immature immune systems. In some areas, up to 40% of children get the disease.
Sporadic cases have been reported in developed countries with travelers bringing it home after trips to other parts of the world.
Bacteria of the bandemia types (B. cereus and B. thuringiensis) are found in soil, dust, air, water and some foods. They do not cause illness by themselves.
Instead, it is a toxin (called an enterotoxin) they create that causes the symptoms of food poisoning. These bacteria produce two types of toxins: one causes vomiting, and the other causes diarrhea. These two toxins are similar to those produced by other types of bacteria, such as staphylococcus and shigella.
The main cause of the disease is contaminated food or water. The bacteria produce a toxin that can be harmful if ingested. People become infected by eating food or drinking water that contains the toxin. In addition, direct contact with infected persons can transmit the disease, as well as contact with their feces or vomit.
Being in a developing country is another risk factor. The disease is most common in areas where food and water regulations are not strictly enforced.
Poor sanitary practices can lead to infection. This includes poor personal hygiene, washing of clothing and dishes only intermittently, lack of proper sewage systems, and contact with infected persons or contaminated objects.
Contaminated foods or beverages are the most common cause of the infection. Examples include:
Drinking water contaminated by sewage or washing clothing in contaminated water
Eating contaminated raw produce, such as vegetables, fruits, and shellfish
Eating food that was not kept at the right temperature during storage or cooking
Poor personal hygiene, such as poor handwashing after using the bathroom or changing a baby’s diaper
Contact with infected person’s feces or vomit (for example, by changing a baby’s diaper or having unprotected sexual contact)
Having contact with an infected person’s feces or vomit, then putting your hands to your mouth or eyes (for example, by preparing food without washing your hands).
Some people may have a weaker immune system than others, making them more susceptible to infection. Those who have a weakened immune system (for example, due to cancer or HIV/AIDS) are more likely to experience more severe illness than others.
It is possible to become infected with the bacteria, but not experience any symptoms. This is particularly true for people in developing countries where the infection is common in the environment and the population has built up a resistance.
The infection typically begins within a few hours to 3 days after contact with the bacteria. The symptoms are most apparent within 12 to 36 hours and typically last for about a week.
The most common symptoms include:
Stomach pain, cramps, and nausea
Vomiting (throwing up)
Diarrhea (either watery or bloody)
If the infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms may also include:
If the infection spreads to the brain, symptoms may also include:
Stiff neck when looking forward
Stiffness of the body
Blurry vision or double vision
Most people recover within a week. But in some cases, diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration and kidney failure. In these cases, hospitalization is usually required.
In the United States, the infection is fairly rare and is most commonly found in developing countries. Those who have traveled to developing countries or have sexual contact with someone who has traveled to a developing country are at a higher risk of infection.
There is no cure for toxoplasmosis, but it can be treated with antibiotics. For severe symptoms, hospitalization may be required to treat the dehydration and electrolyte loss.
The parasite can be passed from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy and birth. If infected, it is recommended that you do not become pregnant. If you are pregnant and test positive for toxoplasmosis, you should see your physician immediately.
The best way to prevent infection from T. gondii is to practice good hygiene by washing your hands after changing cat litter. You should also avoid eating raw meat, particularly pork.
If you think you have been infected with the parasite, you should seek medical attention right away. Most doctors will do a blood test to determine if you have been infected.
Infection with this parasite is rare in the United States, but is fairly common in other countries. Most doctors in the United States have probably never seen a case of toxoplasmosis.
Most people will experience no more than a week of minor flu-like symptoms. Those with a weak immune system may experience more severe symptoms and are at a higher risk for developing complications. Pregnant women are advised to seek immediate medical attention if they suspect they have been infected.
Great care should be taken when handling cat litter or cleaning the cat’s area, as contact with the feces can transmit the disease. Thoroughly wash hands after changing the cat litter.
The symptoms of toxoplasmosis infection in an infant may not appear until the child is grown and can include:
Lack of mental development
If you think you or your child has symptoms of this disease, medical attention should be sought immediately.
If you have a severely immuno-compromised patient, a thorough cleaning and disinfection of any areas in which the cat has had access is warranted. The organism is very hardy and can survive standard cleaning procedures; it will take stronger chemical agents to kill it (metam sodium or phenolics).
To prevent cats from being infected with this disease, feed them only dried or wet food, not raw meat or fish. Do not allow them to hunt or eat rodents and birds. Keep their litter box clean and don’t handle it with your bare hands. Wash your hands thoroughly after contact with the box or its contents.
Cats that have been infected should be kept indoors or confined to a small area, such as a small backyard, where they can easily be monitored. Unborn or newly acquired cats should be tested for the disease before being brought into the household.
Managing problem feral cats is a delicate issue, as some people feel they should be left to their own devices, while others insist on providing food and water in an effort to tame them. Whether you choose to feed these cats or not, you are still responsible for the risk of toxoplasmosis transmission within your community.
The last thing you need is to have your neighbor or some unprotected child getting infected with this disease. If you feed the cats, and you should, insist that everyone who helps you do it wears gloves. Change the food and water daily to prevent algae buildup. Clean all buckets with bleach between uses.
Make sure there is a thick layer of sand in the bottom of the buckets to keep water from sitting still — stagnant water is an invitation for algae growth and an uninoculated cat that drinks that water is going to become infected.
If you would rather not provide food for the cats, at least urge your neighbor to do so. They should follow the same rules as you for preventing infection.
If your community has a feral cat problem, an animal shelter or wildlife organization may offer to trap and remove the cats in a humane way. This is probably preferable to allowing them to continue breeding without control.