Mulder L.
Winclove Probiotics, The Netherlands

Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are caused by an (acute) infection of a region in the upper respiratory tract. This commonly includes diseases like tonsillitis, sinusitis, otitis media and the common cold. URTIs can be caused by a variety of microorganisms including viruses and bacteria. Due to the combination of high colonization rates of potential pathogens and an immature immune system especially children are prone to the development of URTIs. Recurrent infections can have even more serious consequences, like hearing loss, and speaking- and learning disability. Treatments vary between countries and include to wait until the infections over, antibiotic prescription or in more severe cases surgery. A main disadvantage of traditional treatment options is that they only relieve the symptoms but do not address the underlying cause. The extensive use of antibiotic for acute otitis media (AOM) has obvious public health and economic consequences. Only very recently studies are being published researching the microbial communities that inhabit the (upper) respiratory tract. These studies show that the bacterial players in the respiratory tract are quite different to the key players in the gastro-intestinal tract. Data indicate that just like the gastro-intestinal tract, diversity in the microbiota seems to play an important role in the susceptibility to infections. Alternative therapies that support the commensal microbiota in the upper respiratory tract are highly desired. Recent studies have suggested that probiotics may reduce the risk of various symptoms of URTIs. The mechanisms behind the possible beneficial effect of probiotics on URTIs are not completely clear but may be related to colonization of the probiotic bacteria in the upper respiratory tract.

A probiotic formulation (Ecologic® ENT) was developed to enhance the natural respiratory microbiota. The composition of the probiotic formulation was done based on a small collection of bacterial strains that already have shown their efficacy to be able to prevent the recurrence of ear and throat infection in several clinical trials. Especially the strains Streptococcus oralis 89a and Lactobacillus rhamnosus LB21 showed positive effects in URTIs in children without any reported side-effects.

The probiotic formulation Ecologic® ENT stimulates the commensal upper respiratory tract microbiota and inhibits the specific pathogens involved in recurrent ear and throat infections. Probiotic bacteria can have local beneficial effect by competition with pathogens for space and nutrients. In addition they can directly inhibit pathogens by local secretion. In this way they can function as a biological barrier against pathogens and their presence can contribute to the restoration of the natural microbiota in the upper respiratory tract. Probiotics thus have the potential to be a safe alternative therapy in the prevention of URTIs.

Keywords: Probiotics, Upper respiratory tract infections, Microbiota, Streptococcus oralis , Medical device

Mulder L. (2016). Microbiota managment for the prevention of recurrent ear and throat infections. Conference Proceedings of IPC2016. Paper presented at the International Scientific Conference on Probiotics and Prebiotics, Budapest (p. 50.). IPC2016

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