Currently fecal microbiota transplantation is used to treat recurrent C. difficile colitis, an infection caused by the Clostridium difficile bacteria and a complication of antibiotic therapy.
C. difficile can cause debilitating, even life-threatening, diarrhea. While the initial infection may be treated with an antibiotic, in 30% of patients the infection will recur. Antibiotics may be used again, but in recurrent cases, fecal microbiota transplantation may be an option. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that fecal transplantation is more effective than medication in preventing further recurrences in patients who have already had recurrent C. difficile.
Prospective donors with risk factors for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and viral hepatitis are excluded from donating. Those with significant gastrointestinal or autoimmune disease, or with a history of cancer are not acceptable donors. Donors who meet the criteria undergo blood testing for a range of infectious diseases, including HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), hepatitis A, B and C, and syphilis. They are also asked to submit a stool sample to be tested for bacteria (such as Salmonella and Campylobacter), parasites, and Clostridium difficile.