A Chicago-area organ recipient is getting anti-rabies shots after a Maryland person who received tissue from the same donor died from rabies, the Sun-Times is reporting.
The Illinois resident received his transplant at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the hospital confirmed. No further information was available about the recipient.
Two other people also received an organ from the same donor, who died in 2011 after moving there from North Carolina, the Centers for Disease and Prevention said.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said the Illinois organ recipient has no symptoms of rabies, but has started anti-rabies shots as a precaution. IDPH, along with local health departments, is working to identify any hospital personnel who may need post-exposure prophylaxis, in consultation with CDC, a spokeswoman said.
Public health officials are doing the same in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, where the other recipients had ties, the CDC said.
In early March, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene initiated an investigation after the unidentified organ recipient died of rabies. The investigation had revealed that the recipient had had no reported animal exposures, which is the usual way humans get the disease. They then looked at whether the recipient, who had the organ transplantation more than a year ago, could have gotten the disease from the organ.
This week, CDC laboratories confirmed that rabies was transmitted through organ transplantation, while also pointing out that transplant-transmission of rabies is extremely rare.
In the United States, only one other person is reported to have died from a raccoon-type rabies virus, which was the type both the donor and recipient were found to have.
All potential organ donors in the United States are screened and tested to identify if the donor might present an infectious risk.
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