Organ donor had rabies

By David Dishneau

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, March 16 2013 12:02 a.m. MDT

FILE - In this Nov. 16, 2007, file photo, the emergency entrance at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago is seen. A Maryland man died from a transplanted, rabies-infected kidney from a donor who wasn?t known to have the disease. Federal officials said Friday, March 15, 2013, the rare death prompted treatment of three others who got organs from the same donor, one in a transplant operation at Northwestern. The Chicago hospital confirmed the Illinois transplant was performed there and that its doctors are administering the rabies treatment to that recipient. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

Charles Rex Arbogast, ap

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A 20-year-old Air Force recruit who died of rabies had symptoms of the disease but wasn't tested before his organs were transplanted to four patients, one of whom died of rabies nearly 18 months later, federal health officials said Friday.

The three other organ recipients are getting rabies shots and haven't displayed any symptoms.

Doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declined to speculate on the recipients' chances for survival.

Dr. Matthew Kuehnert, director of the agency's Office of Blood, Organ, and Other Tissue Safety, said investigators don't know why doctors in Florida didn't test the donor for rabies before offering his kidneys, heart and liver to people in Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Maryland.

The man in Maryland who received the transplant died.

The Defense Department said he was an Army veteran who had transplant surgery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

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