NEW YORK – At the 2017 Infectious Diseases in Children Symposium, Sarah S. Long, MD, discussed microbiota and the many roles they have.
Microbiota — microbes that live on the body and skin — have roles that people depend on, including metabolism and educating the intestinal mucosa on how to respond to microbes and antigens. However, they also can lead to multiple diseases with underpinnings in dysbiosis or a change in the microbial flora, possibly related to allergies, inflammatory bowel diseases and a role in obesity, Long, professor of pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine and chief of infectious diseases at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Philadelphia, said.
“It’s very important that we have a diverse microbial flora. At the same time, we don’t want to do dumb things with smart pathogens,” Long told Infectious Diseases in Children.
Long discussed problems that occur with infectious diseases related to underwater birthing, including Legionella, herpes simplex and enterovirus disease in newborns.
She also discussed the practice of dehydrating the placenta, which is then ground up and placed into capsules for the mothers to consume. Long said the practice is not regulated and pathogens in the mother’s flora in the placenta can be fed to the mother and transmitted in high density to the infant.
“On the other hand, as pediatricians, we need to be sure that when we use antibiotics, they will have benefit for our patients that have value, so they will be worth any minor adverse events and risks of dysbiosis,” she said.