Laboratory exposures to staphylococcal enterotoxin B

Janice M. Rusnak*, Mark Kortepeter, Robert Ulrich, Mark Poli, Ellen Boudreau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Staphylococcal enterotoxins are 23- to 29-kDa polypeptides in the bacterial superantigen protein family. Clinical symptoms from intoxication with Staphylococcal enterotoxins vary by exposure route. Ingestion results in gastrointestinal symptoms, and inhalation results in fever as well as pulmonary and gastrointestinal symptoms. Review of occupational exposures at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases from 1989 to 2002 showed that three laboratory workers had symptoms after ocular exposure to Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB). Conjunctivitis with localized cutaneous swelling occurred in three persons within 1 to 6 hours after exposure to SEB; two of these persons also had gastrointestinal symptoms, which suggests that such symptoms occurred as a result of exposure by an indirect cutaneous or ocular route. Ocular exposures from SEB resulting in conjunctivitis and localized swelling have not previously been reported. Symptoms from these patients and review of clinical symptoms of 16 laboratory-acquired inhalational SEB intoxications may help healthcare workers evaluate and identify SEB exposures in laboratory personnel at risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1544-1549
Number of pages6
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2004


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