Diarrheal Diseases and Probiotics

  • Yoko Yanagawa
  • Kazuo Tanaka


Infectious diseases accounted for 56% of the total mortality of children under five years of age worldwide in 2004. Diarrheal diseases accounted for a relatively high 17% of these diseases, thus, becoming a serious problem. In fact, a great number of people have been infected by microorganisms, such as E.coli O157, Shigella sp., Salmonella sp., and Vibrio cholerae. In particular, rotavirus infects older infants and young children 4 months to 2 years of age; severe diarrheal infections account for 40% of these cases. Rotavirus found in both developing and developed countries is, therefore, the leading cause of viral intestinal infections. On the other hand, C. difficile has been implicated as a causative agent in antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) and pseudomembranous colitis (PMC) in developed countries. With regard to diarrheal causative microorganisms, this report focuses principally on rotavirus, C.difficile and the efficiency of probiotics. Probiotics are foods that contain live bacteria, are sold as yogurt, pills and other fermented foods, and are beneficial to health. Probiotics given enterally are essentially a means of delivering active constituents such as enzymes or antimicrobial substances to targets in the gastrointestinal tract and are effective against rotaviral diarrhea in children under 5 years of age. In C.difficile antibiotic-induced diarrhea, after oral administration of S. boulardii, many studies have confirmed that probiotics result in a low incidence of AAD and shorten the duration of diarrhea. For other enteropathogenic bacteria, such as V. cholerae, Shigella sp., Salmonella sp., and Campylobacter sp., therapies using antibiotics and rehydration have been established although many kinds of microbial species have been used for probiotic treatment.


Clostridium Difficile Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Diarrheal Disease Rotaviral Infection Pseudomembranous Colitis 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yoko Yanagawa
    • 1
  • Kazuo Tanaka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyShowa University School of MedicineTokyoJapan

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