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NEWS: Rodent Virus Now Linked to Six Deaths

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posted on May, 27 2005 @ 08:30 PM
At least six transplant patients have now died from the LCMV virus that is carried by rodents. Petsmart has been implicated in some of the deaths and has begun testing their rodent stocks. Officials fear that other deaths may have occurred as a result of the infection, but went undetected. Organs used for transplants are routinely tested for pathogens, but there is no commercial test for this virus.
At least six deaths of organ transplant patients have now been linked to a rodent virus, raising questions about whether others may have gone undetected and whether the germ also could spread through blood transfusions.

Health officials believe the deaths are rare cases, but say the situation merits closer study in light of recent discoveries that rabies and West Nile virus occasionally spread through donated organs with deadly consequences.

"We're learning as we go here. This is a new phenomenon," Dr. Matthew Kuehnert, assistant director of blood safety for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said of the rodent virus. "We haven't seen any evidence of transfusion-transmitted infection, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen."

Rhode Island and Massachusetts officials said Monday they are investigating the deaths of three people who got organs from a female donor whose pet hamster tested positive for lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, or LCMV. A fourth organ recipient is believed to be recovering.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

The death toll for transplant patients continues to rise as a result of this virus. While there is no cause for concern for those who are healthy, for those who are in need of an organ transplant, this emergent threat is a legitimate concern, especially as there are no tests for the virus. The CDC, the FDA, and others are investigating this matter and we would hope that measures can be taken to reduce the risks of organ transplants.

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[edit on 05/5/27 by GradyPhilpott]

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