Blog | Friday, May 3, 2013

Transplantation associated rabies (again!)


The Washington Post reported on the death of a renal transplant recipient from rabies. Interestingly, the transplant occurred 15 months prior, yet the donor and recipient rabies viruses were genetically identical. It's another case of organs being transplanted from a donor who died of encephalitis, which still strikes me as absurd. We've blogged before about this topic in cases involving rabies and Balamuthia.

Three years in this blog I wrote: It seems to me that at a minimum there should be an immediate ban on transplanting organs from donors with undiagnosed encephalitides in cases where transplantation is not immediately life-saving (e.g., cornea, kidney, intestine, pancreas, musculoskeletal grafts). And where transplantation is potentially immediately life-saving (e.g., heart, liver), full disclosure of the donor's diagnosis and its implications should be made available as part of the informed consent process.

I haven't changed my mind.

Michael B. Edmond, MD, FACP, is a hospital epidemiologist in Richmond, Va., with a focus on understanding why infections occur in the hospital and ways to prevent these infections, and sees patients in the inpatient and outpatient settings. This post originally appeared at the blog Controversies in Hospital Infection Prevention.