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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1988 May; 32(5): 642–645.
PMCID: PMC172245

In vitro susceptibility of Bacillus spp. to selected antimicrobial agents.


Although often dismissed as contaminants when isolated from blood cultures, Bacillus spp. are increasingly recognized as capable of causing serious systemic infections. As part of a clinical-microbiological study, 89 strains of Bacillus spp. isolated from clinical blood cultures between 1981 and 1985 had their species determined and were tested for antimicrobial agent susceptibility to 18 antibiotics. Species of isolates were determined by the API 50CH and API 20E systems. Bacillus cereus (54 strains) was the most common species isolated, followed by B. megaterium (13 strains), B. polymyxa (5 strains), B. pumilus (4 strains), B. subtilis (4 strains), B. circulans (3 strains), B. amyloliquefaciens (2 strains), B. licheniformis (1 strain), and Bacillus spp. (3 strains). Microdilution MIC susceptibility tests revealed all B. cereus strains to be susceptible to imipenem, vancomycin, chloramphenicol, gentamicin, and ciprofloxacin. Non-B. cereus strains were most susceptible to imipenem, vancomycin, LY146032, and ciprofloxacin. Disk susceptibility testing suggested that B. cereus was rarely susceptible to penicillins, semisynthetic penicillins, or cephalosporins with the exception of mezlocillin. In contrast, many non-B. cereus strains were susceptible to penicillins, semisynthetic penicillins, and cephalosporins, but marked variability was noted among species.

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