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October 1950

BACILLUS SUBTILIS MENINGITIS AND BACTEREMIA: Report of a Case and Review of the Literature on "Subtilis" Infections in Man

Author Affiliations


From the Haynes Memorial and Evans Memorial, Massachusetts Memorial Hospitals, and the Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1950;86(4):585-594. doi:10.1001/archinte.1950.00230160097009

"Nonpathogenic" bacteria may occasionally cause serious or even fatal disease in man. Many instances of infection by such organisms have been reported; in a large number of cases they have been superimposed on a preexisting pathologic process, making evaluation of the role of the secondary invaders difficult. Frequently, even when they have appeared to be the primary inciting cause of an illness, conclusive evidence of the role of these "nonvirulent" bacteria has been lacking.

Among the "nonpathogenic" micro-organisms associated with human infection, various members of the Bacillus subtilis group have been noted uncommonly. This genus comprises the many aerobic, gram-positive, sporulating rods which are classified as Bacillus and includes Bacillus anthracis. Few laboratories attempt to distinguish the different species, with the exception of the anthrax bacillus, referring to them all as B. subtilis. More critical differentiation is made difficult not only by the inadequate descriptions of several of the named