Parasite found in transplanted organs - - Jackson, MS

Parasite found in transplanted organs

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JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - University of Mississippi Medical Center has announced that two people are critically ill after receiving organs from a local donor.

At least one of these organ recipients has been infected by a rare amoeba that until recently had gone undetected in the donor.

This is the first recorded case of this organism being transmitted by organ transplant. It's called Balamuthia mandrillaris and is extremely rare.

There have been less than 70 cases in the United States since it was identified in 1986.

UMC doctors say a patient came to their hospital and after extensive tests was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder. When the patient died the family donated the organs.

More tests were conducted to make sure the organs were ready for transplant.

"At the time the decision was made by the family to put the organs up for donation, additional tests were done and again all those tests came back negative, which reemphasizes the fact that there is no known test to pick this organism up to date," said Dr. William Cleland, the Chief Medical Officer for University Hospital Health Systems.

Four people received these organs in three different states. Their identities are not being released. Two are now critically ill.

Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta confirmed the presence of the amoeba in one of the patients.

Right now there are no tests to make sure this does not happen again.

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