Patients who had suffered severe burns were found to have a huge increase in Enterobacteriaceae and a decrease in beneficial bacteria, according to a study published in PLOS ONE.

Researchers from Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division discovered that burn patients undergo significant changes in the 100 trillion bacteria that reside in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. They studied fecal samples from 4 severely burned patients 5–17 days after the the injury. Their microbiomes were compared to that of a control group (n=8) who had suffered only minor burns. Enterobacteriaceae comprised an average of 31.9% of bacteria in the gut microbiome for severely burned patients vs. 0.5% of the microbiome for minor burn patients. Dysbiosis, the disruption of healthy balance of bacteria, can lead to sepsis or other infectious complications that cause 75% of all deaths in patients with severe burns.

RELATED: Probiotics Appear to Affect Overall Gut System, Not Just Bacteria

Study findings suggest that these burn patients, and other trauma patients (eg, traumatic brain injuries) may benefit from taking probiotics. Researchers conclude that more research is needed to determine whether probiotics can help reduce the risk of sepsis and other infectious complications.

For more information visit