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Br J Nutr. 2011 Aug;106(4):549-56. doi: 10.1017/S000711451100064X. Epub 2011 Apr 27.

Effect of the continuous intake of probiotic-fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota on fever in a mass outbreak of norovirus gastroenteritis and the faecal microflora in a health service facility for the aged.

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Department of Laboratory for Probiotic Research, Juntendo University, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan.


For conducting effective risk management in long-stay elderly people at a health service facility, we performed an open case-controlled study to evaluate the effect of the intake of probiotic-fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota (LcS-fermented milk) on norovirus gastroenteritis occurring in the winter season during the intake period. A total of seventy-seven elderly people (mean age 84 years) were enrolled in the study. During a 1-month period, there was no significant difference in the incidence of norovirus gastroenteritis between the LcS-fermented milk-administered (n 39) and the non-administered (n 38) groups; however, the mean duration of fever of >37°C after the onset of gastroenteritis was 1·5 (SD 1·7) d in the former and 2·9 (SD 2·3) d in the latter group, showing a significant shortening in the former group (P < 0·05). RT-quantitative PCR analysis targeting ribosomal RNA showed both Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus to be significantly dominant, whereas Enterobacteriaceae decreased in faecal samples from the administered group (n 10, mean age 83 years), with a significant increase in faecal acetic acid concentration. Continuous intake of LcS-fermented milk could positively contribute to the alleviation of fever caused by norovirus gastroenteritis by correcting the imbalance of the intestinal microflora peculiar to the elderly, although such consumption could not protect them from the disease.

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