Fecal transplants help to cure deadly bacterial infection - AmericaNowNews.com

Health

Fecal transplants help to cure deadly bacterial infection

A breakthrough medical treatment for a deadly bacterial infection that might sound strange, if not gross. But apparently this new method offers hope when all else fails.

It's estimated C. diff will sicken half a million Americans this year. It's a potentially fatal infection called Clostridium difficile or C. diff for short.

It attacks the colon, clearing out good bacteria, leaving a toxin that causes extreme diarrhea. It can also lead to a ruptured colon, kidney failure, blood poisoning, even death.

C. diff is a superbug and can be drug resistant. Even when antibiotics work, a number of people get the infection all over again the moment they stop the drugs.

"The patients I'm seeing are the patients who are getting C. diff over and over and over again," said Dr. Michael Edmond.

Dr. Edmond ia an internationally known expert in infectious diseases, and one of the few doctors in the country who has performed fecal transplants.

"They say, 'oh this is horrible, this is gross, disgusting.' But, if you've had diarrhea for 3 months and you can't leave your house and I say this has about a 90% success rate, your response is going to be how fast can we do it," said Edmond.

It seems a little more medieval than modern, and this may even gross you out just a little bit, but there's a real science behind fecal transplants happening inside hospitals and why they work.

"We take a stool sample from a healthy individual and we give it to the patient who has C. diff," said Edmond.

He inserts a tube into your nose, down your throat and into your stomach. He then takes a healthy stool sample from a donor- usually a family member. The sample is mixed in a blender, passed through coffee filters and puts into a syringe. It's then injected into the tube, straight into the C. diff patient's stomach.

"The rational here is, I try to give them back normal bacteria that should be in their gut and make the C. diff go away," adds Edmond.

The idea dates back to 4th century China when people ingested feces to treat food poisoning. It's even used by veterinarians with horses.

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