100 people in Texas will need to receive post-exposure rabies prevention treatment

The Texas Department of Health has reported that so far 100 people in Texas will need to receive post-exposure rabies prevention treatment as a precaution after possibly being exposed to rabies in connection with the transplant of organs from a donor who was later confirmed to have been infected with the rabies virus.

The number, which TDH said is preliminary, includes 61 health care workers at four Texas hospitals and 29 family members and other close contacts of two transplant recipients from Texas.

Texas hospitals that provided care for the donor or recipients, and the preliminary number of health care workers at each that will need post-exposure preventive treatment, are: Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas (45); Good Shepherd Medical Center, Longview (7); Christus St. Michael Healthcare Center, Texarkana (8); and Wadley Regional Medical Center, Texarkana (1).

The CDC on Wednesday confirmed that three transplant recipients who died after receiving organs May 4 from a common donor had died of rabies. CDC also determined, subsequent to donation and transplants, that the donor had been infected with rabies. The donor was from Arkansas. Two of four recipients were from Texas. One was from Oklahoma. The fourth recipient died of non-rabies complications during transplant procedures in Alabama.

TDH is coordinating the Texas portion of a continuing trackdown investigation to identify health care workers who provided care for the donor or recipients, and any close contacts of the recipients or donor who need to receive post-exposure rabies prevention treatment.

Similar investigations are under way in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Alabama.

Health officials said the situation presents no increased risk of rabies to the public or to the hospitals' other patients and visitors.

These are the first recorded cases of rabies tranmission through solid organ transplants.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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