A Maryland transplant patient died this week after contracting rabies from the donated organ, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.
The donor recipient received the organ last year, but only started showing signs of the infection recently. Two others received organs from the same donor and have been treated with precautionary medicine to prevent the virus from spreading.
Usually, humans only contract rabies after getting bitten by an infected animal. It is unclear how the organ donor contracted the disease. First, it was reported that the organ donor, a man in his 20s, died from encephalitis after doctors mistook his brain inflammation as a sign of encephalitis rather than rabies. Only one in three cases of human rabies are reported each year, so the doctors did not think to test for rabies when the man died. His heart, liver and kidneys went to recipients in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and Maryland.
It was also odd, according to the CDC, that it took an entire year for the rabies to manifest in the patient. Usually, rabies symptoms appear within three months of the infection and are fatal a few days after the symptoms become active.
The CDC also explained that testing for diseases is routine during transplant procedures, but rabies is usually not tested for because of the rarity of its occurance.
Source: CYV News