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Editorial
February 01, 2008

Infectious Disease Risk Factors of Corneal DonorsIs There New Cause for Concern?

Arch Ophthalmol. 2008;126(2):262. doi:10.1001/archophthalmol.2007.52

Among the many concerns involved with tissue transplant is the risk of transmission of infectious diseases. In corneal transplant the experience has been generally excellent, but presumed transmission has included the following: the viral diseases rabies,1 hepatitis B,2 herpes simplex,3 and cytomegalovirus4; bacterial keratitis and endophthalmitis5; fungal keratitis and endophthalmitis6; and prion (Creutzfeldt-Jakob) disease.7 Most cases, except the bacterial and fungal ones, were reported before the present Eye Bank Association of America standards for donor and tissue screening and evaluation were established or were reported from areas in the world where these standards were not yet followed. Through its medical advisory board, the Eye Bank Association of America has been greatly concerned with these risks; through its medical standards, which are reviewed and if necessary revised at least twice yearly, it has established donor screening and tissue evaluation criteria to reduce such risks. A voluntary process for reporting adverse reactions to donor tissue, including infectious diseases, is well established and is used as a quality assurance measure to assess how well we are doing.

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