Organ Donation Leads to Rabies

by Nate Wooley | March 18, 2013 9:34 am

bacteria[1]AMaryland resident’s death has been attributed to a case of rabies brought about by an organ donation.

Three other people who received organs from the infected donor are being treated by their health professionals, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring their cases, reports The Newark Post[2].

The identity of the person who died from the disease is being closely held by authorities. The donor was a North Carolina resident who died in Florida. On the donor’s death, the kidneys, heart and liver were transferred to people in Maryland, Georgia, Illinois and Florida.

Standard tests on donated organs include several infectious diseases — such as hepatitis and HIV — but rabies is not typically a part of that testing. As a part of the process, doctors are asked about the donor and any related animal bites. The speed of donation — sometimes mere hours pass before donated organs are transplanted — prevents accurate rabies testing before surgery.

The CDC is working to establish how the organs got through the donation process and who else might have been exposed through handling infected tissue.

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