To ask the Minister for Health and Children the research available in relation to the use of probiotics in the treatment of gastrointestinal conditions such as c-difficile within hospitals here; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre published Guidelines for the Surveillance, Diagnosis and Management of Clostridium-Difficile-associated disease (CDAD) in Ireland, on 22nd May last. At Section 4.4 of that report the new and emerging treatment options including the use of probiotics are explored. The research, as would be expected, underlines the complexity of the issue.

Some results showed a reduction in the risk of antibiotic associated diarrhoea but not CDAD; other studies examined the application of probiotics with standard antibiotics to treat CDAD and in certain cases the tests undertaken had a number of limitations including highly selective inclusion and exclusion criteria.

The HSE is currently considering this report to decide on its implementation.