Why doesn't the immune system kill commensal flora?

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ricardo carragosela

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ricardo carragosela  asked the Naked Scientists:
Hi The Naked Scientists!

My name is Ricardo and I'm from Lisbon, Portugal.

I'd like to ask you why the immune system doesn't attack the human commensal flora and it attacks all the bacteria that entry in the body and kill them.
Thank you very much!

Best wishes

Ricardo Carragosela

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 20/04/2011 03:30:02 by _system »


Offline Farcanal

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Why doesn't the immune system kill commensal flora?
« Reply #1 on: 20/04/2011 12:01:43 »
Human commensal bacteria are the bugs that live on our skin mostly. They have evolved into a symbiotic relationship with their hosts.

Most of them are benign in general but occasionally they can proliferate usually after the person has had a course of strong antibiotics for another health issue. When that happens sickness can result. Candida is a yeast infection that comes from the Candida that normally live happily on our skin but if the balance of acid/alkali is thrown out it can produce a nasty infection in one's mouth and or other warm moist areas like the feet (athletes foot).

Incidentally, Sherry, and Claret wines are fermented by Candida yeasts which are inocculated by barefoot grape pressing.