Asthma and Bacteria in Early Life

Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxins (intestinal toxins) have been demonstrated to affect airway disease including Asthma in early life according to multiple studies. The study of Asthma and Bacteria in early life is very interesting.

To further the WAF misson to improve our understanding of what drives Severe Asthma, the World Asthma Foundation reached out to Rodney Dietert, PhD, for his thoughts on the topic of Asthma and Staphylococcus aureus.

Rodney Dietert, PhD is a Cornell University Professor Emeritus, Health Scientist Head of Translational Science + Education for SEED and the Author of the Human Super-Organism How the Microbiome is Revolutionizing the Pursuit of a Healthy Life.

Asthma and Bacteria in Early Life: Staphylococcus Aureus

This is the second interview of three on the topic of Asthma and Staphylococcus aureus with Rodney Dietert, PhD. Today we learn about:

  • Relationship between Asthma and Staphylococcus aureus
  • Multinational studies on the topic of Asthma and Staphylococcus aureus
  • Importance of diet


Asthma and Bacteria in Early Life: Staphylococcus Aureus

World Asthma Foundation: Can you talk about the relationship between Staph A and Asthma as a biomarker in early life?

Rodney Dietert, PhD: Yes. There’s a multi-nation study that was done to look at the nasal microbiome in early life. They were measuring that two, four, six, nine months up through to two years and then looked, among their cohorts, at asthma between ages 6 and 18.

Nasal Microbiota Findings

What they found was really striking. They found four major categories of progression of the nasal microbiota as the infant aged. There was one of those groups where Staph A was the most prevalent bacterium or Staphylococcus, and particularly Staph A, that was present. The two-month major (bacterium). It was the main bacterium.

That group that started that way, at two months, had, I think it ranged from age 6 to 18, they were measuring asthma and that microbiome beginning (2 months). That contributed to 45 to 60% of the asthma among all of those children they were evaluating. Just from that one (microbiota) type. That was really an impressive predictor of asthma in later childhood. That suggests you don’t want to see Staph A like that, in a two-month-year-old baby. If you do, you better do something about it.

Staph A

Now, again, that is still an association but we understand what Staph A does to the immune system, because of what it does in terms of producing toxins that actually are allergens or can be allergens, what it does to IgE production. You know if that is really the prevalent nasal bacteria at that age and that is not what you usually see, that’s a problem. Right there, there is a biomarker in my opinion that should be a red flag. We should be looking to do something about that.

Sweet Consumption

There are also studies in early life that show consumption of sweets is a contributing factor to the risk when you’ve got Staph A in there. Some of the children actually seem to have a receptor detection of sweet issue. There’s a cohort that actually can’t tell that they’ve really had what would be considered an overabundance of sweets. They’re a little resistant to detecting it, so they eat more and that actually will propel them to severe asthma later on. That combination of Staph A, and diet even, is very important.

Asthma and Bacteria in Early Life: Staph A
Asthma and Bacteria in Early Life: Staph A, Rodney Dietert PhD

For additional information on Asthma and Staphylococcus aureus and the WAF defeating Asthma Project, visit:

Defeating Asthma Project