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

The Texas Department of Health has reported that so far 147 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 107 health-care workers at four Texas hospitals and 40 family members and others in Texas closely associated with the donor or recipients.

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 (74); Good Shepherd Medical Center, Longview (12); Christus St. Michael Healthcare Center, Texarkana (19); and Wadley Regional Medical Center, Texarkana (2).

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. Several hundred health-care workers and others have been screened to determine if they need post-exposure treatment.

Background: The CDC on June 30 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.

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