Sunday, May 19, 2024

Transplanting organs from a drowned donor can be a source of transmission of deadly bacteria to the recipient.


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — For the first time, an organ transplant is believed to be the cause of the spread of the deadly Legionella bacteria, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Two people with Legionnaires’ disease received lungs from a person who drowned after falling into a river in Pennsylvania last year. The man, who was in his thirties, was declared brain dead after efforts to revive him failed.

Doctors were able to transplant the deceased’s right lung into a woman in her seventies. As for his left lung, it went to someone in his sixties. Eventually, they both developed Legionnaires’ disease, a more severe form of pneumonia caused by a bacteria called Legionella.

Organ transplant recipients are particularly vulnerable to infection because they must take immune-suppressing drugs for the rest of their lives to prevent the donated organ from attacking them.

In this case, one month after the lung transplant, the right lung recipient became ill and tested positive for Legionella in June 2022. Doctors treated her with antibiotics and she recovered completely.

As for the left lung recipient, he experienced several complications after the transplant and tested positive for bacteria in June. At first, he seemed to be recovering, but he died six months after the transplant due to respiratory failure.

Doctors tested three other people who received organs from the same donor, but they showed no signs of bacterial infection.

After officials learned of these two cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Health looked for the source of the bacteria.

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Management tested the water at the transplant hospital, but found no evidence of Legionella bacteria.

Eventually, officials began to suspect that the bacteria came from a drowned donor, as Legionella bacteria are naturally found in fresh water. The bacteria may have spread to him when he inhaled water while drowning.

The Centers for Disease Control warns that cases of Legionnaires’ disease have increased “dramatically” over the past decade. Bacteria thrive in warm water, and as temperatures increase due to climate crisis, they have more opportunities to grow.

Scientists hope the new report will serve as a warning to health care providers to detect possible Legionella infections in organ recipients.

“This panel highlights the need to increase clinical awareness of the potential for Legionella infection in lung recipients from donors prior to organ donation,” according to a study by researchers at Penn State and the Centers for Disease Control. and prevention.

“Prompt diagnosis and treatment of Legionnaires’ disease increases the chance of complete recovery,” the study confirmed.

Nadia Barnett
Nadia Barnett
"Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator."

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