Gut bacterial infections and probiotics
The public’s awareness for gut health and probiotics rises every year. Researchers continue to find the benefits for using probiotics to improve health and prevent illnesses. For example, microbiologists at the UC Irvine are discovering how probiotics can ameliorate symptoms of gut bacterial infections like salmonellosis.
Salmonellosis is an illness caused by infection from Salmonella. According to the CDC, Salmonella is estimated to be the cause of 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths in the United States every year. The illness typically includes diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. The illness develops within three days after infection and lasts up to a week. Because beneficial bacteria in the intestines takes time to return to normal levels, recovery from salmonellosis can take “several months before their bowel habits are entirely normal”.
Pathogenic bacteria require energy and nutrients for replication. Luminal iron (iron available in the intestinal tracts) is one of the key nutrients Salmonella needs to replicate at high levels. If resources are unavailable, cells cannot reproduce.
Researchers at Irvine find that “Nissle 1917”, a probiotic strain of E. coli, out competes with Salmonella for iron. This competition reduces Salmonella colonization. When Salmonella doesn’t have the resources to replicate to large numbers, the severity of the infection is reduced. 
The probiotic strain of E. coli called Nissle 1917 is used in Germany to reduce enteroinvasive bacterial pathogens (pathogens that target the cells lining the intestines), but Nissle 1917 is currently not available in U.S. markets.
Global research efforts are contributing to the development of competitive probiotic use. Maybe one day, we will fight fire with fire. Perhaps the solution to preventing salmonellosis could be with probiotics bacteria like Nissle 1917.