Your Guide to Coccobacilli Infections

Coccus are small rods or rods shaped organisms which cause a variety of infections including tonsillitis, pneumonia, sinus infection, urinary tract infection (UTI), skin abscesses and many others. They may even cause cancer. Most of them belong to the genus Bacillus and they are usually found in soil and water. Some of them are very common, while some are rare. There are over 300 species of Bacillus and there are at least 10 different strains within these species.

Bacillus subtilis is the most commonly reported organism causing human disease. B. subtilis causes a wide range of diseases from food poisoning to tuberculosis, but it is probably best known for its role in food spoilage and the production of botulism toxin.

Bacillus cereus is another common bacterium that causes illness. It is responsible for botulism, meningitis, and other types of bacterial meningitis.

Bacillus species are not always harmful to humans; however, certain strains can cause life threatening conditions such as septicemia and toxic shock syndrome. These strains include Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus cereus, Bacillus clausii and Bacillus globigii.

Bacillus species are opportunistic pathogens and can cause disease in people with compromised immune systems or when the bacteria gain access to areas where it is not normally found. In these cases, the bacteria may be found in the blood (septicemia), the spinal fluid (meningitis), the urinary tract (UTI) or any area of infection.

There are several diseases which can be caused by different strains of bacilli:

Bacterial Meningitis.

Otitis Media.




Swelling of the brain (encephalitis).

Swelling of the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord (meningitis).


Toxic Shock Syndrome.

Tissue infection.

Septic arthritis.

How to prevent bacillus infection?

Most bacillus species can live and grow in a wide variety of environments. It is important to maintain aseptic (germ free) conditions when dealing with these bacteria. These bacteria also require very specific conditions to cause disease. Most strains do not cause disease until they enter an area where there is significant tissue damage or a compromised immune system. Good hygiene can prevent most cases of bacillus infection.

What are the signs and symptoms of bacillus infection?

The main symptoms of a bacillus infection are going to differ depending on which type you’ve been infected with. For instance, Bacillus cereus can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. These symptoms would be similar to a stomach virus.

B. anthracis can cause more specific symptoms such as:

Sore throat.

Swollen glands.


Difficulty breathing.

Chest pain.

Confusion and hallucinations.


How to diagnose bacillus infection?

You doctor will diagnosis the type of bacillus infection based on your medical history and a physical examination. In some cases, you may require certain lab tests. These tests may include :

Blood test.

Urine test.

Spinal fluid test.

Bile test.

How to treat bacillus infection?

Most bacillus infections are easily treated with the right type of antibiotics. For more severe cases, you will be admitted into the hospital where you can get fluids and medication to make you more comfortable.

Sources & references used in this article:

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