The Newsroom    Published Thursday, May. 25, 2006, 12:14 PM
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Sparse Lessons from Clusters of Fatal Virus in Transplants

MedPage Today (Internet) 05/25/06 http://www.medpagetoday.com/Surgery/GeneralSurgery/tb/3408 In December 2003, four organ transplant recipients developed fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, altered mental states, seizures, and multiple organ failures. All four patients had received grafts from the same donor, and all died. In April 2005, the same illness struck four more transplant patients with a single donor in common. An investigation of the two clusters of deaths revealed that, in each, every organ recipient was infected with the same unique strain of LCMV. Though the virus was never isolated from either donor, the donor in the 2005 cluster had a pet hamster infected with the same viral strain that killed the patients who received her organs. "The coincidence in timing and the phylogenetic matching of the strains within each cluster leave little doubt about the interpretation," said C.J. Peters, M.D., of the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, in an accompanying editorial.



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