CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine are studying ways to improve care for patients who suffer from Clostridioides difficile, more commonly known as C.diff. 

Researchers are studying how transplanting a healthy person's feces into someone who suffers from the dangerous infection can improve health outcomes.

UVA's Dr. Chelsea Marie says they study blood and colon-tissue samples of patients during their transplants, then again 60 days later.

Marie says they found these transplants boost the immune system, helping sick patients to heal.

"We recruited patients who at least already had one infection with C.diff," she said. "It's actually pretty common. One in six patients will have a recurrence."

Marie says there are about half a million infections every year in the United States. She says there are about 30,000 deaths from the infection annually.

Marie says the long-term goal is to find ways to improve therapies for those patients.