Gut bacteria in preemies altered by hospital stay, study finds

January 28, 2014
Gut bacteria in preemies altered by hospital stay, study finds
The antibiotics given to many killed mother's bacteria, and bacteria in NICU took over.

(HealthDay)—Gut bacteria in premature infants don't come from their mothers, but from microbes in the neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU), a new study finds.

Babies typically get their gut bacteria from their mothers during childbirth. Premature infants, however, receive antibiotics during their first week of life to prevent infections, and these antibiotics eliminate many of the microbes the infants receive from their mothers.

As a result, microbes from the NICU colonize the digestive tracts of premature infants, the University of California, Berkeley, researchers found.

The researchers swabbed the most-touched surfaces in an NICU and collected fecal samples from two in the unit. The surfaces checked for included the sink; feeding and breathing tubes; the hands of health workers and parents; incubator access knobs; and keyboards, cell phones and other electronic equipment at the nurses' station.

The researchers found that the gut bacteria in the two infants were similar to those found on the surfaces in the intensive-care unit. The most abundant types of in the infants were similar to those found on feeding and breathing tubes.

The study was published recently in the journal Microbiome.

"The most common species found in our study—Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Escherichia coli and Bacteroides fragilis—all have been associated with disease in , but can also be commonly isolated from healthy infants and adults," study author Brandon Brooks said in a journal news release.

"The strains found here are largely opportunistic, lacking many of the really nasty genes found in 'outbreak' versions of their respective strains," Brooks said. "The bacteria would need to be further tested to fully understand [any potential threat]."

Both infants in the study were healthy when they left the hospital.

Explore further: Microbiome in gut, mouth, and skin of low birth weight infants differentiate weeks after birth

More information: The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about human microbes.

Related Stories

Microbiome in gut, mouth, and skin of low birth weight infants differentiate weeks after birth

October 29, 2013
Low birth weight infants are host to numerous microorganisms immediately after birth, and the microbiomes of their mouths and gut start out very similar but differentiate significantly by day 15 according to a study published ...

Toxigenic C. difficile resides harmlessly in infants, poses risk to adults

December 3, 2013
Infants and toddlers frequently carry toxigenic Clostridium difficile, usually with no harm to themselves, but can serve as a reservoir and spread the bacteria to adults in whom it can cause severe disease, according to a ...

All probiotics are not the same in protecting premature infants from common, life-threatening illness

October 17, 2013
Treating premature infants with probiotics, the dietary supplements containing live bacteria that many adults take to help maintain their natural intestinal balance, may be effective for preventing a common and life-threatening ...

The NICU environment: Not all silence is golden

October 17, 2013
Medical technology has improved the survival rates of premature infants, but adverse developmental outcomes are a continuing problem. Researchers have turned their attention to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where ...

Premature babies harbor fewer, but more dangerous microbe types

December 8, 2011
One of the most comprehensive studies to date of the microbes that are found in extremely low-birthweight infants found that hard-to-treat Candida fungus is often present, as well as some harmful bacteria and parasites.

Risk factor for life-threatening disease in preemies identified

January 16, 2014
Many premature infants suffer a life-threatening bowel infection called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.