According to a new research published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, microorganisms residing in children's noses could provide important clues to improving the diagnosis and treatment of severe lung infections.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with Dutch teams analysed samples of >150 children (aged 300 healthy children.
The microbiome found in the back of the nose and throat had similarities with that seen in the lungs. The findings showed that children with LRTI had an altered microbiome profile, including variations in the types and amounts of individual viral and bacterial components compared with their healthy counterparts. The microbiome profile could effectively identify 92 per cent of children as sick or healthy when other factors including age were considered. It was also strongly predictive of the length of hospital stay.
According to the authors, understanding the microbiome profile could assist clinicians in making a decision of whether to use antibiotics or not. Professor Debby Bogaert from the University of Edinburgh said: "Lung infections can be extremely serious in children and babies and are very distressing for parents. Our findings show for the first time that the total microbial community in the respiratory tract, rather than a single virus or a bacteria, is a vital indicator of respiratory health."