Under certain circumstances probiotics can actually be harmful and cause secondary infections. The authors cautioned that their preliminary findings apply only to the carefully monitored study population, and should not be generalized to all hospital patients. Furthermore, the results need to be replicated by research at other care facilities, ideally using a diversity of patient populations.
Nevertheless, Morrow and colleagues suggest that probiotic treatment could be a novel, inexpensive, nonantibiotic approach to preventing secondary infections. Using Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG to prevent pneumonia "appears safe and efficacious in a select population of patients," the authors concluded.