John Bartlett, MD


July 23, 2003

In This Article

West Nile Virus in 4 Oregon Transplant Recipients

Iwamoto M, Jernigan DB, Guasch A, et al. Transmission of West Nile virus from an organ donor to four transplant recipients. N Engl J Med. 2003;348:2196-2203. Abstract This is a report from the CDC and multiple collaborators representing "The West Nile Virus (WNV) in Transplant Recipients Investigation Team," which documented the transmission of WNV to 4 recipients of organs from a donor who had no prior evidence of WNV. This donor had received blood transfusions from 63 donors prior to death. Review of blood donors with follow-up testing identified 1 donor who had WNV viremia at the time blood was donated. This donor was identified as having an illness resembling WNV, and the infection was then documented by standard serology. Of the 4 transplant recipients with WNV, 3 had encephalitis and 1 died. This investigation has prompted the FDA to issue guidelines requesting blood donors to provide information suggesting symptoms of WNV infection, and the FDA is working on methods to speed the screening of WNV as well.


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