According to Kathy Giery of LifeQuest Organ Recovery Services in Gainesville, Florida, Small's organ were not tested for rabies at the time of his death because the disease was not suspected.
Officials believed Small died of some sort of stomach issue, with the hospital saying it was food poisoning from a toxin found in large saltwater fish, the Florida Department of Health believed he had encephalitis, and the Defense Department said it was severe stomach and intestinal inflammation.
RALEIGH, NC (WREX) — The rabies-infected man whose organs were donated to multiple people has been identified.
Alecia Mercer says the man was 20-year-old Air Force mechanic William Edward Small, the father of her child. Mercer says she was informed last week that Small died of rabies in September 2011. When he died, she was told he passed away from a stomach virus.
Small was not tested for rabies by Florida doctors when he died. His organs were donated to recipients in Maryland, Florida, Georgia, and Illinois.
The patient in Maryland recently died of rabies. The other patients are receiving anti-rabies shots as precautionary measures.
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