Lactobacillus sepsis associated with probiotic therapy

Pediatrics. 2005 Jan;115(1):178-81. doi: 10.1542/peds.2004-2137.


Probiotic strains of lactobacilli are increasingly being used in clinical practice because of their many health benefits. Infections associated with probiotic strains of lactobacilli are extremely rare. We describe 2 patients who received probiotic lactobacilli and subsequently developed bacteremia and sepsis attributable to Lactobacillus species. Molecular DNA fingerprinting analysis showed that the Lactobacillus strain isolated from blood samples was indistinguishable from the probiotic strain ingested by the patients. This report indicates, for the first time, that invasive disease can be associated with probiotic lactobacilli. This report should not discourage the appropriate use of Lactobacillus or other probiotic agents but should serve as a reminder that these agents can cause invasive disease in certain populations.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacteremia / etiology*
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Child
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • Diarrhea / drug therapy
  • Diarrhea, Infantile / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lactobacillus* / classification
  • Lactobacillus* / genetics
  • Lactobacillus* / isolation & purification
  • Male
  • Probiotics / adverse effects*
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use
  • Sepsis / drug therapy
  • Sepsis / etiology*
  • Sepsis / microbiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / drug therapy


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents