Organ donor dies of rabies, officials now searching for people with close contact, organ recipients

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Public and military health officials say they're trying to identify people in at least five states who had close contact with an organ donor who died of rabies or with the organ recipients because they might need treatment.

Federal health officials said Friday that a 20-year-old Air Force recruit from North Carolina who died of rabies had symptoms of the disease but wasn't tested before his organs were transplanted in four patients, one of whom died of rabies nearly 18 months later.

The three other organ recipients are getting rabies shots and haven't displayed symptoms.

Investigators don't know why Florida doctors didn't test the donor for rabies before offering his kidneys, heart and liver to people in Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Maryland. The Maryland man who received a kidney died.

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