Good bacteria can help prevent deadly infection in newborns

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It's been found that probiotics or good bacteria can help prevent the rises of sepsis in newborns. Learn more here.

In the Philippines, Bacterial Sepsis has become of the top causes of death in newborns, along with Pneumonia and Respiratory distress.

Neonatal sepsis is a life-threatening bacterial infection that typically occurs in infants less than 90 days old. In some cases, it strikes during the first 24 hours after birth.

Worldwide, Sepsis claims the lives of 600,000 babies each year, making it the top cause of infant death around the world.

But this alarming mortality rate can be reduced, according to recent studies in the U.S. and India may have found the solution to fighting this deadly infection: good bacteria.

Good bacteria, or probiotics, can be found in all sorts of Asian cuisine, like kimchi, pickles, atchara, and various fermented vegetables.

In the study, which was published in the journal Nature, it was found that babies who consumed these microbes had a lower risk of succumbing to sepsis. Gathering data from thousands of babies in rural India, who they fed probiotics and sugars to feed the good bacteria, they noted an impressive decline in the incidence of sepsis in the region.

Probiotics were also found to protect against respiratory infection and boost the immune system

baby feeding

photo: Shutterstock

Leading the study was Dr. Pinaki Panigrahi from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health, who has devoted two decades of his career to his quest to find the best way to prevent sepsis. Out of the 280 kinds of probiotics, he and his team found that lactobacillus plantarum worked best.

They also found that probiotics can shield a baby’s intestinal wall keeping bad bacteria from entering the bloodstream. The study also highlighted probiotics’ ability to protect against lung infections, which surprised the researchers because they weren’t expecting its benefits to manifest in both the digestive and respiratory systems.

The only side effects were a few cases of abdominal distention. Once it’s fully tested around the world, on both full-term and premature infants, the study’s authors estimate that probiotic treatment can be made commercially available for about $1 (or P51.12). Aside from its preventive health benefits, probiotics have also been found to boost a child’s immune system.

This new development may need further testing before it becomes routine worldwide, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction in making sure babies get a fair shot at a long and healthy life.

sources: The New York Times, NPR, DOH, MedlinePlus

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Written by

Bianchi Mendoza