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Health Agencies Update
April 24, 2013

Transplant-Related Rabies

JAMA. 2013;309(16):1674. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.4241

A patient in Maryland died after contracting rabies from an organ transplant, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC tested samples from the donor and the organ recipient in mid-March, confirming the infection more than a year after the patient received the transplant. The typical incubation period for rabies is 1 to 3 months, according to the CDC, but some periods of longer duration have been documented. Both the donor and the organ recipient had a type of rabies that infects raccoons, but the source of the donor's infection is still being investigated. The donor died in Florida, but the CDC believes the individual may have been infected while living in North Carolina. Testing for rabies was not conducted at the time of death.