Latest Infectious Disease News
"Probiotic use is an intriguing topic," lead author Dr. Jennie Kwon, a clinical researcher in infectious disease at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said in a university news release.
"With fewer therapies available to treat multidrug-resistant organisms, innovative methods to prevent or eliminate gastrointestinal colonization [by bacteria] are necessary," she explained.
Colonization is the first step before a full-blown infection can develop, the study authors explained.
The current research included 70 patients in intensive care units who received either standard care or probiotics twice a day for up to two weeks.
Probiotics are live microorganisms -- popularly called "good" bacteria. Probiotics are believed to boost a person's resistance to harmful germs, the researchers said.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria colonized the intestines of 10 percent of patients who received probiotics and 15 percent of those who got standard care. However, this difference was not statistically significant, the researchers noted.
The study was published online Aug. 27 in the journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.
Drug-resistant bacteria pose a serious threat to hospital patients because they increase the risk of hard-to-treat infections that spread easily, the researchers said.
Kwon said that further study should be done to see if other groups of people, such as those who are less ill, might be helped with probiotics.
-- Robert Preidt
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SOURCE: Washington University School of Medicine, news release, Aug. 27, 2015