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Gram-positive spore formers

Non spore formers


Aerobic Gram (+) spore-forming,
non-branching, catalase (+) bacilli

General Characteristics
Found in nature
Most are saprophytic and are isolated as
Bacillus anthracis is a major pathogen
Others are opportunists
Commonly encountered in the microbiology

A large group of bacteria
50 species are found in the environment
Non motile
Ferments glucose but not mannitol, arabinose
or xylose
Produces lecithinase and produces an opaque
zone in egg yolk agar colonies
Grow in high salt (7% NaCl) and low pH (< 6)

Non hemolytic on BAP
Found in the environment and can be isolated
from water and soil
Majority are not highly pathogenic but are being
isolated from clinical infections increasing
On Gram stain, spores do not stain but just
appear as empty spaces

Spore stain is used to demonstrate spores
Found in soils of all climates subarctic, desert
regions, thermal springs, fresh and salt water,
and plant materials, growing at -5oC or as high
as 75oC
They survive because endospores are resistant
to conditions to which vegetative cells are

Most species grow well on BAP and other
common enriched media
Found as contaminants in specimens from a
number of sources
Colony characteristics vary considerably
among species and are influenced by type of
medium used

Pigment formation from pink to blue black are
formed in a number of species depending on
the growth conditions and substrate

Significant Bacillus spp

Bacillus anthracis
Agent of anthrax, a disease in livestock
Humans acquire infection by contamination of wound
or ingestion or inhalation of spores

Bacillus cereus
Causes food poisoning
An opportunists

Bacillus subtilis
Common laboratory contaminant

Bacillus anthracis
Large, sporeforming Gram (+) bacilli
Spores viable for up to 50 years
Nonhemolytic on sheep blood agar or BAP
Spore formation is aerobic
Non motile

Bacillus anthracis
Virulence factors
Polypeptide capsule
Potent exotoxin
1. Edema factor (EF)
2. Protective antigen (PA)
3. Lethal factor (LF)

Bacillus anthracis
Depends on a glutamic acid capsule and a
complex toxin
The capsule (polypeptide of D-glutamic acid)
protects the organism from phagocytosis and is
resitant to hydrolysis by host proteolytic
enzymes because it is the unnatural form
Although capsule is necessary for virulence,
antibodies against the capsule do not confer

The Anthrax Toxins

The effect of edema factor and lethal factor is
seen when either is combined with protective
Edema results from the combination of PA with
EF, but death occurs when PA combines with
Increases vascular permeability

The Anthrax Toxins

Interferes with phagocytosis
Genes are carried by a plasmid but if a
virulent strain is repeatedly cultured in
vitro, the plasmid is eventually lost and the
organism is no longer virulent

Zoonotic infections transmitted by direct contact
or inhalation
Not spread from animal to animal but from
animals feeding on plants contaminated with
Disease is named according to its occupational
association: Woolsorters disease, Ragpickers

Primarily a disease of herbivorous animals
such as sheep, cattle, goats, and horses
Common disease in livestock worldwide

Human acquired the infection accidentally in
agricultural or industrial setting
Man- infected upon contact with the animal or
animal product s
Incidence in US is very low at < 5 cases/year,
however, worldwide, cases number by several
In other parts of the world including Central and
South America, disease is enzoonotic

During processing of hides or animal hair
Gains access through cuts or inhalation

1.Cutaneous anthrax
2 to 5 after
3 Clinical

inoculation of spores (95%)

Wounds contaminated with spores acquired
to skin cuts, abrasions, insect bites
Lesion starts as an erythematous papule
that progresses into an ulcerative black
eschar or malignant pustule

Cutaneous anthrax or malignant

pustule:begins when the organisms gain
access through cuts; localized infection

Small pimple or papule appears at site of
inoculation 2 to 3 days after exposure
A ring of vesicles develops & the vesicles
coalesce to form an erythematous ring
A small dark area appears in the center of the
ring and eventually ulcerates and dries forming
a depressed black necrotic central area known
as eschar (black eschar or malignant pustule)

Lesion is painless and does not produce pus

unless secondary pyogenic infection comes
Eschar is 1 to 3 cm in diameter but may
become more extensive. This heals after 1 to
2 weeks. It dries then separates from the
underlying base, and falls off, leaving a scar
Usually infection remains localized but
regional lymphangitis and lymphadenopathy

If septicemia occurs, there is fever, malaise and

Normally in uncomplicated cases, no systemic
symptoms are present

2.Pulmonary anthrax (rare) is acquired by

inhalation of spores
Pulmonary anthrax or woolsorters disease:
acquired through inhalation of spores; may
result in respiratory distress and death
Malaise, mild fever, nonproductive cough

Acquired when spores are inhaled into
pulmonary parenchyma
Infection begins as a nonspecific illness
consisting of mild fever, fatigue, and malaise 2
to 5 days after exposure to spores
Resembles URT like colds and flu
This initial form lasts 2 to 3 days and is followed
by sudden severe phase where respiratory
distress is common

Severe phase is extremely serious (dypsnea,

cyanosis, pleural effusion) then
disorientation, coma then death
Course of the severe phase from respiratory
symptoms to death may last only 24 hours

3. Gastrointestinal (very rare)

Gastrointestinal: acquired by ingestion of
contaminated raw meat
Occurs when spores are inoculated into a
lesion on the intestinal mucosa following
ingestion of spores
Abdominal pain, nausea, anorexia and
vomiting; bloody diarrhea may occur
Rare (<1%)