12/28/2009

An advisory committee on infectious disease transmission for the United Network for Organ Sharing, the group that coordinates transplants in the U.S., has started to review countrywide data on how often patients with brain infections become organ donors. The move follows a disclosure by a Mississippi medical center that two kidney transplant patients who received organs from the same donor were infected with an amoeba called Balamuthia mandrillaris, which had infected the brain of the donor but hadn't been identified in the donated organs before the procedures. The case stresses the need for a national policy on whether to accept or decline people with undefined neurological conditions as donors, said Dr. Michael G. Ison, the committee's chairman.

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