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Herpes virus transplanted with organs?

Herpes virus transplanted with organs?

The virus causing genital herpes apparently can be transferred to transplant recipients from contaminated donor organs and tissues, say scientists from the University of Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis. Jesse L. Goodman reports that although the stress of organ transplantation has been known to reactivate latent herpes viruses in a previously infected patient, disseminated herpes infections seen in two transplant recipients at the Minnesota hospital were caused by viruses in the donated organs. The transplanted heart and pancreas were suspected after the two patients--previously uninfected with herpes simplex virus type 2--developed severe herpes infections of the blood and liver. One of the patients eventually died from the infection. Subsequent testing of blood samples from the donors showed a previous infection, suggesting that this virus may move from the genital site and become latent in other areas like the donated organs, says Goodman. Earlier this year, similar transmission occurred in two kidney recipients in Pittsburgh. Although Goodman emphasizes that this type of viral transmission is very rare in the transplant field, he says care should be taken when organs or tissues from infected donors are used.
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Author:Edwards, Diane D.
Publication:Science News
Date:Oct 17, 1987
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