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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Probiotics in the treatment of acute rotavirus diarrhoea. A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial using two different probiotic preparations in Bolivian children

Giuseppe Grandy13*, Marcos Medina1, Richard Soria12, Carlos G Terán1 and Magdalena Araya3

  • * Corresponding author: Giuseppe Grandy

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Paediatric Centre Albina Patiño, Department of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Department of Infectology. Cochabamba, Bolivia

2 Albina Patiño Foundation, Cochabamba, Bolivia

3 Institute of Nutrition and Technology of Foods, University of Chile, Macul 5540, Santiago, Chile

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:253  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-253

Published: 25 August 2010



Evidence suggests that probiotics reduce rotavirus diarrhoea duration. Although there are several probiotic strains potentially useful, daily practice is often limited by the type and number of products locally available. In general, information about combined products is scarce. In this study we compare the effect of two probiotic products in the treatment of diarrhoea in children less than 2 years of age.


A Randomized double-blind controlled clinical trial in children hospitalized for acute rotavirus diarrhoea, in the Paediatric Centre Albina Patino, Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Participants were children aged 1 - 23 months, who were randomly assigned to receive one of three treatments: Oral rehydration therapy plus placebo; Oral rehydration solution plus Saccharomyces boulardii; or Oral rehydration solution plus a compound containing Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium longum and Saccharomyces boulardii. Sample size was 20 per group and the outcomes were duration of diarrhoea, of fever, of vomiting and of hospitalization.


64 cases finished the protocol. On admission, patients' characteristics were similar. Median duration of diarrhoea (p = 0.04) in children who received the single species product (58 hours) was shorter than in controls (84.5 hrs). Comparing children that received the single probiotic product and controls showed shorter duration of fever (18 vs 67 hrs) (p = 0.0042) and the mixed probiotic of vomiting (0 vs 42.5 hrs) (p = 0.041). There was no effect on duration of hospitalization (p = 0.31). When experimental groups were merged, statistical significance of changes increased (total duration of diarrhoea, fever and vomiting P = 0.025, P = 0.025 and P = 0.014, respectively).


Both products decreased the duration of diarrhoea compared to oral rehydration solution alone. This decrease was significant only for the single species product which also decreased the duration of fever. With the multiple species product there was no vomiting subsequent to the initiation of treatment. The quantity of probiotic bacteria needed for optimum treatment of gastroenteritis remains to be determined, particularly when multiple species are included in the product.

Trial Registration

ClinicalTrials (NCT): NCT00981877