Rabies organ tests not common, despite recent death - WNCT

Rabies organ tests not common, despite recent death

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

Organ transplants usually save lives, but for one Maryland man, it led to his death.

A Jones County man donated a rabies-infected kidney in 2011 that wound up killing a man. Health officials say the man, William Small of Trenton, had not been tested for rabies prior to his donation.

9 On Your Side spoke to an organ donation agency in Greenville about why this may have happened.

CEO Lloyd Jordan of Carolina Donor Services says bodies are usually examined for animal bites before any transplants, but organs are not tested for rabies.

"There's not really a test designed that fits within the time frame to get the test results back for when the organs can be transplanted," said Jordan.

There have been 550,000 transplants since 1998, and this is the second time someone has died from a rabies-infected transplant, said Jordan.

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