Francesco Di Pierro,1 Maria Colombo,2 Alberto Zanvit,3 Paolo Risso,4 and Amilcare S Rottoli5
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Streptococcus salivarius K12 is an oral probiotic strain releasing two lantibiotics (salivaricin A2 and salivaricin B) that antagonize the growth of S. pyogenes, the most important bacterial cause of pharyngeal infections in humans also affected by episodes of acute otitis media. S. salivarius K12 successfully colonizes the oral cavity, and is endowed with an excellent safety profile. We tested its preventive role in reducing the incidence of both streptococcal and viral pharyngitis and/or tonsillitis in children.
Materials and methods
We enrolled 61 children with a diagnosis of recurrent oral streptococcal disorders. Thirty-one of them were enrolled to be treated daily for 90 days with a slow-release tablet for oral use, containing no less than 1 billion colony-forming units/tablet of S. salivarius K12 (Bactoblis®), and the remaining 30 served as the untreated control group. During treatment, they were all examined for streptococcal infection. Twenty children (ten per group) were also assessed in terms of viral infection. Secondary end points in both groups were the number of days under antibiotic and antipyretic therapy and the number of days off school (children) and off work (parents).
The 30 children who completed the 90-day trial with Bactoblis® showed a significant reduction in their episodes of streptococcal pharyngeal infection (>90%), as calculated by comparing the infection rates of the previous year. No difference was observed in the control group. The treated group showed a significant decrease in the incidence (80%) of oral viral infections. Again, there was no difference in the control group. With regard to secondary end points, the number of days under antibiotic treatment of the treated and control groups were 30 and 900 respectively, days under antipyretic treatment 16 and 228, days of absence from school 16 and 228, and days of absence from work 16 and 228. The product was well tolerated by the subjects, with no side effects, and only one individual reported bad product palatability and dropped out.
Prophylactic administration of S. salivarius K12 to children with a history of recurrent oral streptococcal disease resulted in a considerable reduction of episodes of both streptococcal and viral infections and reduced the number of days under antibiotic and/or antipyretic therapy and days of absence from school or work.