UPDATED: CDC, IDPH investigating organ donor with rabies - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

UPDATED: CDC, IDPH investigating organ donor with rabies


According to the Defense Department, the organ donor in question was a 20-year-old North Carolina man who was in the Air Force. He had been training as an aviation mechanic in Pensacola, Florida when he became ill.

The patient who died was from Maryland and received one of the man's kidneys.

Officials are working to identify people in five states who came into contact with the donor or the recipients.


One person is dead and another receiving treatments after an individual who died and donated their organs in 2011 was found to have rabies.

A total of four people received organs from the donor and one recently died of rabies. Another, a northeastern Illinois resident, has no symptoms, but is taking anti-rabies shots as a precautionary measure.

The Illinois Department of Public Health and local health departments are working together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify any health care workers who may be in need of post-exposure prophylaxis.

"There is no ongoing threat of rabies to the public associated with this situation," IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said. "The Illinois Department of Public Health will continue to work with the CDC and local health departments to monitor the health of the Illinois recipient and determine the need for rabies treatment in hospital personnel."

The transmission of disease through organ transplants is extremely rare with the vast majority of transplant-transmitted infections happening within three months of transplantation.

The transmission of rabies from one person to another is also highly unlikely. It only occurs when a person has contact with someone infected with rabies through their eyes, nose, mouth or break in skin with saliva, tears, or neural tissue.

All potential donors in the country are screened and tested to see if they present an infection risk. Organ procurement organizations are responsible for deciding if a person is suitable to donate.

Rabies is a preventable disease that is usually transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. If anti-rabies shots are not given promptly, the virus infects the central nervous system and ultimately can cause disease in the brain.

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