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Could Good Bacteria Help Prevent Middle Ear Infections, Pneumonia?

First Posted: Jan 18, 2016 10:17 PM EST

Good bacteria may help prevent pneumonia, according to recent findings published in mBio.

Researchers at the Forsyth Institute found that a harmless bacterium, known as Corynebacterium accolens, and that's found in both the nose and skin, can negatively impact the growth of a pathogen that causes middle ear infections in children and pneumonia in both children and older adults.

This bacteria typically colonizes in the nose and remains a major cause of pneumonia, meningitis, middle ear infection and sinusitis; it inhibits Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae) and isestimated to cause over 1 million deaths every year in young children in developing countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).   

The research shows that that C. accolens are overrepresented in the noses of children that are not colonized by S. pneumoniae, which is commonly found in children's noses and can cause infection, researchers say. When studying in a laboratory setting, researchers found that, "C. accolens modifies its local habitat in a manner that inhibits the growth of S. pneumoniae by releasing antibacterial free fatty acids from representative host skin surface triacylglycerols," according to a news release.Their research later identified the C. accolens enzyme needed for this.

Researchers believe that the study findings may determine whether c. accolens could hold a role as a beneficial bacterium that might one day be used to control pathogen colonization. 

The report can be found here

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