Reuters Health Information (2005-06-02): LCMV transmitted through organ donation in US
LCMV transmitted through organ donation in US
Last Updated: 2005-06-02 16:31:07 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Four transplant recipients
in the US became infected with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus
(LCMV) after receiving organs from a single donor infected with the
virus, according to a report in the June 3rd issue of the Morbidity and
Mortality Weekly Report.
LCMV is a rodent-borne virus that seldom causes problems for healthy
individuals, but in immunocompromised patients, such as transplant
recipients, infection can be serious and even fatal.
There are no effective pre-transplant tests for screening organ or
tissue donors for LCMV infection. Still, the risk of acquiring an
unknown LCMV infection through transplantation is very remote and is
greatly outweighed by the benefits of organ transplantation,
researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note.
The current report involves a woman from Rhode Island who died from
stroke complications in early April. Aside from hypertension, she had
an unremarkable medical history and there was no evidence of infection
at the time of her death.
Organs from the woman were transplanted into four recipients who
soon showed abnormalities of liver function and blood coagulation, the
report indicates. The cause of the illness was unclear and, ultimately,
three of the patients died.
The link with a common donor led investigators to consider an
infectious etiology for the illnesses. Analysis of tissue from the
donor and recipients identified LCMV infection as the cause of disease.
Further testing suggested that the donor had acquired the virus from a
"Healthcare providers should be aware that LCMV can be transmitted
through organ transplantation," the CDC notes. "Any unexpected
infectious syndromes in recipients after solid organ or tissue
transplantation should trigger concern about the possibility of
transplant-associated transmission of an infectious agent."