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Novel therapy to treat C. difficile
A novel therapy using donated human stool was effective in treating the deadly and contagious C. difficile infection, U.S. researchers say.
Dr. Mayur Ramesh, an infectious diseases physician at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, said the treatment, while appearing unconventional, has striking results.
“More than 90 percent of the patients in our study were cured of their C. difficile infection,” Ramesh, the senior author, said in a statement. “This treatment is a viable option for patients who are not responding to conventional treatment and who want to avoid surgery.”
The researchers evaluated 49 patients who contracted C. difficile, a germ that causes diarrhea and other intestinal problems and is linked to 14,000 U.S. deaths annually. Symptoms include water diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, nausea and abdominal pain and tenderness.
C.difficile can spread from person-to-person or from touching contaminated equipment and objects like door knobs, Ramesh said.
The researchers at Henry Ford Hospital treated patients between May 2010 and June 2012 with the therapy intestinal microbiota transplantation — using donated stool from a healthy family member administered to the patient via a nasogastric tube or colonscopy.
“Patients who receive treatment through a nasogastric tube don’t taste or smell the stool mixture as it’s administered,” Ramesh said. “Patients often resume their diet within a couple hours and are feeling better within 24 hours.”
Of the 49 patients in the study, 43 fully recovered, four died of causes unrelated to C. difficile, one had intestinal surgery and one had no improvement, Ramesh said.
The study was presented at the annual Infectious Diseases Society of America meeting in San Diego.
Copyright 2012 by United Press International