Skip to content

Yes, even healthy newborns have a diversity of viruses in the gut - this is their virome (community of viruses), and it undergoes changes over time. In fact, the entire infant microbiome (community of microbes) is highly dynamic and the composition of bacteria, viruses and bacteriophages changes with age. One interesting finding is that initially newborn babies have a lot of bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria), but that these decline over the first two years of age. From Medical Xpress:

Viruses flourish in guts of healthy babies

Bacteria aren't the only nonhuman invaders to colonize the gut shortly after a baby's birth. Viruses also set up house there, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. All together, these invisible residents are thought to play important roles in human health.The study, published online Sept. 14 in Nature Medicine, reports data from eight healthy infants and is one of the first surveys of viruses that reside in the intestine. The investigators analyzed stool samples to track how the babies' bacterial gut microbiomes and viromes changed over the first two years of life.

"We are just beginning to understand the interplay between all the different types of life within our gut," said senior author Lori R. Holtz, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics. "They are not stand-alone communities. We also are seeing that the environment of the infant gut is extremely dynamic, which differs from the relative stability that has been shown in adults."The earliest stool samples were taken at 1-4 days of life, and even at this early time point, Holtz noted, viruses were present ...continue reading "Viruses Live in The Guts of Healthy Babies"