In recent years, a medical procedure known as fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), known colloquially as “poop transplants,” have risen in popularity as a means of treating certain infections of the gastrointestinal tract without antibiotics. But according to Business Insider, the FDA is issuing a warning on the procedure following its first ever reported death.
“The agency is now aware of bacterial infections caused by multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs) that have occurred due to transmission of a MDRO from use of investigational FMT,” the FDA said. Two immune-compromised adults were given the procedure without the donor stool being tested for infection. They were both sickened by E. coli, and one died.
FMT is broadly regarded as an effective treatment for C. difficile infections, which can cause abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and in serious cases, colon inflammation, kidney failure, and death. This disease infects 500,000 people a year, often older adults in hospitals or long-term care facilities, and many become infected after taking antibiotics. It is fatal in about 10 percent of people over 65 who contract the disease.
While the FDA does not oppose use of FMT, the agency will now be issuing new guidelines for its use, including “Donor screening with questions that specifically address risk factors for colonization with MDROs, and exclusion of individuals at higher risk of colonization with MDROs” and “MDRO testing of donor stool and exclusion of stool that tests positive for MDRO.”