Lactobacillus GG May Decrease Risk of Nosocomial Respiratory and Gastrointestinal Infections in Hospitalized Children

DynaMed Weekly Update - Volume 5, Issue 22

Children can be at high risk of infections during hospital stays, and measures commonly used to prevent nosocomial infections, like hand hygiene, are not completely effective. A recent randomized trial with 742 children evaluated the efficacy of Lactobacillus GG for preventing hospital-acquired infections. Allocation concealment was not stated. Children, mean age 10 years, without gastrointestinal and/or respiratory tract infection upon admission were randomized to receive a fermented milk product with Lactobacillus GG (1 x 109 colony-forming units) vs. placebo (fermented milk alone) once daily during their hospital stay. The most common reasons for hospitalization were neurologic disorders (34.6%) and noninfectious pulmonary and immunologic disorders (19.3%). The Lactobacillus GG group had significantly lower rates of gastrointestinal infections (5.1% vs. 12%, p < 0.05, NNT 15) and respiratory infections (2.1% vs. 5.5%, p < 0.05, NNT 30) ( level 2 [mid-level] evidence). Lactobacillus GG was also associated with reductions in vomiting episodes (4.5% vs. 9%, p < 0.05, NNT 23) and diarrhea episodes (1.9% vs. 7.7%, p < 0.05, NNT 18). There was no significant difference in duration of hospital stay between groups, and longer stays were associated with increased infection risk (Pediatrics 2010 May;125(5):e1171).

For more information, see the Probiotics topic in DynaMed.