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Transplant Teams Should Be Aware of Donor Tuberculosis

Suspected cases call for rapid communication between health care providers involved

THURSDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- An estimated 0.35 percent to 6.5 percent of organ recipients in the United States and Europe will become infected with tuberculosis (TB) via the transplanted organ, according to a report published in the April 4 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Vivek Kohli, M.D., of Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City, Okla., and colleagues describe a case report in which a 46-year-old male patient with a history of alcoholism, homelessness and incarceration met the criteria for brain death after a prolonged hospitalization and became a donor to three recipients.

The man tested positive for TB three weeks after his death. A 50-year-old female kidney recipient died nine weeks after transplantation with disseminated TB listed as one of the primary causes of death. A 23-year-old woman who was the recipient of the man's other kidney also contracted TB but recovered, while a 59-year-old male liver recipient did not become infected with TB.

"To reduce the risk for TB transmission associated with organ transplantation, organ recovery personnel should consider risk factors for TB when assessing all potential donors. In addition, clinicians should recognize that transplant recipients with TB might have unusual signs or symptoms," the authors write.

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