Lactobacilli are rod-shaped bacteria that are part of the intestinal and vaginal normal flora, and are usually considered beneficial because they produce vitamin K, the enzyme lactase that helps to digest dairy products, and anti-microbial substances, such as acidolin and acidolphillin, which prevent the growth and colonization of harmful bacteria. However, in rare cases, lactobacilli can cause serious infections of the bloodstream, urinary tract and internal organs, especially in immunocompromised individuals. Clearance of the infection is the main aim of the treatment.
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Antibiotics are the mainstay of treatment for lactobacillus infections. Penicillin is the common antibiotic used and can be administered orally or intravenously, depending on the condition of the patient. According to John Hopkins Point of Care Information Technology Center, the typical duration of penicillin treatment is about six weeks for infections of the bloodstream and heart. Penicillin and its derivative ampicillin can also be used to treat lactobacilli infections of stomach. However, care should be taken while administering penicillin as penicillin allergies are common.
For patients with penicillin allergies, gentamicin is the alternate choice, and can be administered intravenously to patients with blood and heart infections. The John Hopkins Point of Care Information Technology Center also prescribes oral clindamycin to treat gum and teeth infections caused by lactobacilli species. It is also important to note that almost all the strains of lactobacilli are resistant to vancomycin and hence, it is not recommended to treat lactobacilli infections.
Antipyretics are drugs that can bring down fever and are given to patients with lactobacilli infection that have a body temperature of greater than 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Common antipyretics include acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin. MayoClinic.com, however, warns against the use of aspirin in children younger than 18 years due to the risk of developing Reye's syndrome, which causes swelling in liver and brain.
Intravenous Fluid Therapy
Patients with severe lactobacilli infections, especially of the bloodstream, may also suffer from low blood pressure and shock. Intravenous fluids, which contain 0.9 percent sodium chloride solution, may be given to such patients, using an IV access device like a hypodermic needle or a peripheral cannula, according to the Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. This helps to increase the blood volume and blood pressure.
Surgical drainage of the site of infection may be essential to treat certain lactobacilli infections. According to the John Hopkins Point of Care Information Technology Center, extraction and drainage of the site of infection is essential to treat lactobacilli infection of the gums and oral cavity. Similar drainage and removal of debris and pus is necessary to treat infections of the stomach that are caused by lactobacilli species.