Organ transplant recipient receiving anti-rabies shots after CDC
confirms rabies death in donor
local health departments identifying close contact medical staff
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[March 16, 2013]
SPRINGFIELD -- The Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that laboratory
testing confirmed that a person who died and donated organs in 2011
and one of the organ recipients recently died of rabies. Three other
people received organs from the same donor, including one recipient
in northeastern Illinois. The recipient has no symptoms of rabies
but has started anti-rabies shots as a precaution. The Illinois
Department of Public Health, in consultation with CDC, is working
with local health departments to identify any hospital personnel who
may need post-exposure prophylaxis.
"There is no ongoing threat of rabies to the public associated with
this situation," said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, director of Illinois
Department of Public Health. "The Illinois Department of Public
Health will continue to work with the CDC and local health
departments to monitor the health of the Illinois recipient and
determine the need for rabies treatment in hospital personnel."
Transmission of rabies from person to person is highly unlikely and
occurs only when a person has contact through their eyes, nose,
mouth or a break in the skin with saliva, tears or neural tissue
(nervous system) of a person infected with rabies.
Transmission of disease via organ transplantation is very rare.
The vast majority of transplant-transmitted infections happen within
three months of transplantation. People who have had a recent organ
transplantation and are concerned about infection should speak with
their health care provider.
All potential organ donors in the United States are screened and
tested to identify if the donor might present an infectious risk.
Organ procurement organizations are responsible for evaluating the
suitability of each organ donor. The benefits from transplanted
organs generally outweigh the risk for transmission of infectious
diseases from screened donors.
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Rabies is a preventable viral disease most often transmitted
through the bite of a rabid animal. The rabies virus infects the
central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain if
anti-rabies shots are not given promptly.
Department of Public Health file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]