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Fecal Microbial Bacteria Essay

1203 words - 5 pages

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; most healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) such as staph or MERSA are dropping except for one: Clostridium difficile infections or CDI which causes an estimated 14,000 diarrhea related deaths in America each year. Clostridium difficile is a gram positive, anaerobic bacteria that can produce exotoxins, form spores and is beginning to show increased resistance to antimicrobial treatment. Symptoms of CDI include watery diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, nausea and abdominal tenderness (CDC 2011). The usual treatment for CDI is first to cease use of any antibiotics that first may have caused the CDI. If symptoms do not improve, then ...view middle of the document...

I hypothesize that since Clostridium difficile infections involve an invasion of bacteria that our own bacterial flora is unable to compete with, immediate family members (particularly those within the same household) may have the same susceptibility to CDI. An unrelated person may be the better choice as a fecal donor due the difference in bacterial flora. In order to begin, a group of potential FMT recipients with confirmed Clostridium difficile infection would have to be obtained, as well as a group of both unrelated and closely related potential donors. All potential donors would be carefully screened for transmissible health risks such as HIV, hepatitis, communicable disease, parasite infection, travel to areas with a high risk of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob or diarrheal illness, history of gastrointestinal disease and any recent antibiotic treatment that may affect natural bacterial populations in the intestine (Bakken et al. 2011).
The FMT recipients would then be randomly assigned to a donor and divided into two groups based on relation to that donor: unrelated and immediate family. Preparation of the FMT would involve diluting a fresh stool sample with either sterile saline (0.9%) or milk, homogenizing with a blender and screening the mixture to remove any particulate and transplanting immediately. According to Bakken et al, the amount of the mixture administered via nasoduodenal tube should be smaller (25-50ml) in volume vs. a larger (250–500 mL) amount if administered via enema or colonoscopy (2011). After FMT is administered, some useful parameters to measure would be any resolution of CDI symptoms, the occurrence of CDI relapse over time and cultures of fecal bacteria to test for diversity. Simply testing for the presence of Clostridium difficile is not recommended since the bacteria can be present even in healthy, symptom-free individuals (Cohen et al. 2010). This data further supports the theory that the root cause of CDI is not simply due to the presence of Clostridium difficile alone, but rather that the body’s own bacteria is unable to compete.
If individuals in the unrelated donor group have a higher cure rate and lower occurrence of CDI relapse then the related donor group, that data would support my hypothesis. Further research could also be done by surveying FMT donor health records, dietary and lifestyle habits to make better choices regarding how FMT donors are selected in the future. We are only just beginning to understand how important the population of bacteria in our bodies can be in relation to our health, I hope that my proposed experiment could provide data to deepen that understanding.

Works Cited

Johan S. Bakken, Thomas...

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