Infected MA transplant kills one patient, sickens another

Two patients received kidneys infected with a difficult-to-detect virus after agreeing to accept organs from a high-risk donor, authorities at Boston hospitals said this week. A 70-year-old woman has died, and a 57-year-old man is critically ill after receiving organs from a 49-year-old homeless man who carried the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). The homeless man, who suffered terminal brain damage after cardiac arrest, was checked for diseases that can be tested for quickly, including the AIDS virus, hepatitis and a common herpes germ. However, LCMV screening is not part of the standard battery of rapid-fire tests done in the short period before organs perish, as there's no quick test for it available.

When the organs became available, the potential recipients were warned that this was a high-risk donor, but decided to go ahead with the transplant, as the risk of waiting for another suitable organ could have been even higher. The woman received a transplant at Boston Medical Center and the man at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Later, when the woman came back to the hospital and died, a physician with Boston Medical informed the CDC of the possibility that this could be LCMV. The man is now in treatment for the disease.

To learn more about this situation:
- read this article in The Boston Globe

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