The use of the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and viral findings in the nasopharynx of children attending day care

J Med Virol. 2013 Sep;85(9):1632-8. doi: 10.1002/jmv.23623. Epub 2013 Jun 21.


Limited data are available on the effects of probiotics on the nasopharyngeal presence of respiratory viruses in children attending day care. In this substudy of a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled 28-week intervention study, nasopharyngeal swab samples were collected, on visits to a physician due to symptoms of infection, from children receiving control milk (N = 97) and children receiving the same milk supplemented with probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (N = 97). The presence of 14 respiratory viruses was assessed by PCR methods, and viral findings were compared with symptom prevalences in the intervention groups. Rhinovirus was identified in 28.6% of 315 swab samples, followed by respiratory syncytial virus (12.4%), parainfluenza virus 1 (12.1%), enterovirus (8.9%), influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 (7.9%), human bocavirus 1 (3.8%), parainfluenza virus 2 (3.2%), adenovirus (2.9%), and influenza A(H3N2) (0.6%). The children in the probiotic group had less days with respiratory symptoms per month than the children in the control group (6.48 [95% CI 6.28-6.68] vs. 7.19 [95% CI 6.98-7.41], P < 0.001). Probiotic intervention did not reduce significantly the occurrence of the examined respiratory viruses, or have an effect on the number of respiratory symptoms observed at the time of a viral finding. Rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, and parainfluenza virus 1 were the most common respiratory viruses in symptomatic children. Children receiving Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG had fewer days with respiratory symptoms than children in the control group, although probiotic intervention was not effective in reducing the amount of viral findings or the respiratory symptoms associated with viral findings.

Keywords: probiotic; respiratory infection; respiratory virus.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Day Care Centers
  • Child, Preschool
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus / immunology*
  • Male
  • Nasopharynx / virology*
  • Placebos / administration & dosage
  • Prevalence
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Virus Diseases / epidemiology
  • Virus Diseases / pathology
  • Virus Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Virus Diseases / virology
  • Viruses / classification
  • Viruses / isolation & purification*


  • Placebos