The Westmead Hospital in New South Wales is planning to set up a a programme of "poo transplantation" as the new treatment for patients suffering from C. diff infection. Image from Wikipedia wikipedia.org

A hospital in New South Wales is planning to set up a permanent “poo transplantation” programme for patients across the state suffering from Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, infection, which causes symptoms of diarrhoea and life-threatening inflammation of the colon. The Westmead Hospital is aiming to have its own "poo bank" where emergency cases can be immediately treated.

Experts say that the poo transplantation procedure will enable good bacteria in the human waste to take over the body and fight against the infection. Westmead Hospital will be the second public hospital in Australia to offer the procedure, which the Gastroenterological Society of Australia has already recommended to all patients suffering from C. diff.

The C. diff infection commonly affects the elderly, people who are sick and diagnosed with immune problems or cancer, and those who take a lot of antibiotics, according to David van der Poorten, a staff specialist in gastroenterology and hepatology at Westmead Hospital. However, some cases of severe infection have been found to occur even in relatively healthy people.

Prior to the decision, Westmead Hospital had already given the new treatment to a patient suffering from the infection. The patient was from C. diff several years after having the transplanted poo, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

For almost 15 years the patient Samar Munoz had taken daily antibiotics to fight the infection attacking her guts. However, the antibiotics were not strong enough for her condition. Doctors at Westmead Hospital then offered Munoz to take the new treatment. Munoz underwent the poo transplant, with her husband as the donor.

In NSW, over 4,500 people are infected with C. diff every year. The infection tends to be resistant from antibiotics in five percent of cases in the state, which would lead patients to undergo bowel removal as an alternative treatment.

The procedure of removing bowel has a history of delivering huge impacts on the quality of life of the patient, which a failure in some cases leads to the patient’s death.

To date, there are already four patients who have been treated at Westmead with the new procedure, and all were reportedly cured. The poo transplant is believed to have a 90 percent of success rate.

A previous study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, also suggests that poo transplantation could be the universal cure for the C. diff infection. The study was what inspired van der Poorten to establish the programme at Westmead.

To date, the Centre for Digestive Diseases in NSW is the only hospital to widely offer the treatment. Australian health authorities are currently working with Britain to formalise the approval of the treatment, according to an editorial published in the British Medical Journal on Wednesday.

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