The presence of bacteria in an unexpected place suggests that a vicious cycle of inflammation and microbiome disruption may influence illnesses such as sepsis and acute lung failure.

No one knows for sure how they got there. But the discovery that bacteria that normally live in the gut can be detected in the lungs of critically ill people and animals could mean a lot for intensive care patients.

Scientists recently found gut bacteria in the deepest reaches of failing lungs — an environment where they normally aren’t found and can’t survive. The more severe the patients’ critical illness, the more their usual lung bacteria were outnumbered by the misplaced gut bugs.

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The findings, published in Nature Microbiology, were made by a team at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Read more at U-M…

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