The Laboratory Department for Probiotics Research at the Juntendo University Graduate School of Medicine (NAGATA Satoru, YAMASHIRO Yuichiro et al.) studied supplementation of probiotic fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota (LcS) in elderly individuals living at a nursing home and confirmed reduced fever associated with acute norovirus gastroenteritis.
Analysis of fecal flora demonstrated that daily intake of LcS-fermented milk increased useful bacteria (bifidobacteria, lactobacillus), reduced harmful bacteria (coliform group), and increased short chain fatty acids, suggesting that an improved intestinal flora and environment contributed to alleviation of the gastroenteritis symptom.
Norovirus is known to be a leading cause of acute infectious gastroenteritis, which can occasionally increase in the severity, especially in elderly individuals with compromised immune systems at risk of developing dehydration. There has recently been an epidemic of the mass infection at facilities for the elderly. Prevention of such infections is a challenge.
Little data are available concerning the effects of probiotics such as lactobacillus, and no report is available on norovirus as far as we know.
Our findings indicate that probiotic supplementation may serve as an effective means of prevention from infectious gastroenteritis including those due to norovirus at facilities where elderly individuals with compromised immune systems live in groups.