CDC confirms rabies death in organ transplant recipient

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene have confirmed that a patient who recently died of rabies in Maryland contracted the infection through organ transplantation done more than a year ago. The patient was one of four people who had received an organ from the same donor. This week, CDC laboratories tested tissue samples from the donor and from the recipient who died to confirm transmission of rabies through organ transplantation.
In early March, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene initiated an investigation after the organ recipient died, which led to the rabies diagnosis. The investigation revealed that the organ recipient had no reported animal exposures, the usual source of rabies transmission to humans, and identified the possibility of transplant-related transmission of rabies, which is extremely rare.
The organ transplantation occurred more than a year before the recipient developed symptoms and died of rabies; this period is much longer than the typical rabies incubation period of 1 to 3 months, but is consistent with prior case reports of long incubation periods. CDC