Melbourne: A deadly superbug, which can cause kidney failure and even death, is being successfully treated using bacteria found in the stools of healthy people.
Mutated by the overuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics, Clostridium difficile — a bacteria that can take over the intestines and destroy the bowel — kills up to 300 people a day in US hospitals and has now been detected in hospitals in Australia.
But now, researchers have found an effective way to cure patients by an alternative treatment known as bacteriotherapy, or faecal transplant.
A healthy bacterium from a donor poo is transplanted into the colon of the sick patient with remarkable results.
"We have a 97 per cent cure rate with a single infusion of flora into the colon," News.com.au quoted Professor Thomas Borody from The Centre for Digestive Diseases, which has so far conducted over 1500 transplants, as saying.
Faecal transplants are the butt of many jokes amongst the medical profession, but doctors say that should not distract from the success rate.
"It is the ultimate pro-biotic treatment," said Thomas Riley, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of WA.