Safety of probiotics that contain lactobacilli or bifidobacteria

Clin Infect Dis. 2003 Mar 15;36(6):775-80. doi: 10.1086/368080. Epub 2003 Mar 5.


Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria are extremely rare causes of infection in humans, as are probiotics based on these organisms. This lack of pathogenicity extends across all age groups and to immunocompromised individuals. Strains used for new probiotics should be chosen from the commensal flora of humans and should not carry intrinsic resistance to antibiotics that would prevent treatment of a rare probiotic infection. Vigilance regarding the detection of possible rare cases of infection due to probiotics should be maintained, and isolates should be sent to reference centers for molecular characterization and confirmation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bifidobacteriales Infections / etiology*
  • Bifidobacterium / classification
  • Bifidobacterium / drug effects
  • Bifidobacterium / isolation & purification*
  • Contraindications
  • Drug Resistance
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Lactobacillus / classification
  • Lactobacillus / drug effects
  • Lactobacillus / isolation & purification*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Probiotics / adverse effects*
  • Risk Assessment