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Microbiology in the News:   Poop Pills
Elaine Altman
Breckinridge School of Nursing
Anu Gupta
December 20, 2014

Microbiology in the News: Poop Pills
Shawn Mulligan, 53, of Calgary, Canada, is among the first patients to test prototype poop pills to cure the recurrent intestinal infections caused by Clostridium difficile also known as C. diff.   Even though the idea was distasteful when he thought about it, the results were quick and was life changing for him. Shawn was one of the first people suffering from a terrible gut infection caused by the germ C. diff, to get better using fecal transplants.   The fecal transplants can be delivered through nose tubes, colonoscopies or enemas, but he was one of the first to have it transplanted through poop pills.   “At first I thought it was kind of nasty, a little gross,” said Mulligan, an engineering technologist who was sick for five months this year with the infection that causes severe diarrhea, cramping and headaches. “But at that point, I would have done anything.”
Dr. Thomas Louie, an infectious disease expert from the University of Calgary found a way to package stool that was donated by a donor just like an organ transplant donor, into a vitamin sized capsuled that was used to repopulate the intestines of sick patients suffering from C. diff with beneficial bacteria.
Instead of being delivered through nose tubes, colonoscopies or enemas, patients swallowed two-three dozen pills filled with feces that had been spun down to the most beneficial microbes.   There were 27 patients treated and none of them had a recurrence of C. diff even though all of them had a least four bouts of the infection, which can lead to severe disease or even death.
The article was very easy to understand and was explained very well.   It was very interesting to me because I have GI issues and recently was sick for over a month with C. diff. I had a hard time getting over it because the antibiotics used to treat it were...

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