Transplant recipients contract HIV and hepatitis C from infected organs
Four transplant recipients contracted HIV from a donor whose organs where infected, reports the Star Tribune, the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune Tuesday. This is the first reported case of transmission by organ donation in more than 20 years.
The transplants were done at three Chicago hospitals in January, but the recipients found out that they were infected with both HIV and hepatitus C in the last two weeks.
The organs were tested before they were used, but the results came back negative. Doctors say that the donor likely contracted HIV and hepatitis C in the last three weeks of life so the antibodies were not detected by the tests done on the donor.
Information regarding the donor's medical history and cause of death was not released because of privacy laws, but the donor was classified as high-risk. Because the tests had come back negative, doctors went ahead with the transplants.
Federal guidelines discourage using organs from donors who engage in high-risk behavior. However, the number of people on the waiting list is much higher than the number of available organs.
The case is being investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.