Three people have died after receiving organ transplants from a single donor which has puzzled the medical community in Australia. Upon examination of tissue samples the cause of death was pinned to one type of virus found in the victims' bodies.
The virus was traced in the bodies of three patients from Melbourne who died in the few weeks following the transplant of organs from a 57 year old brain dead patient. According to experts, the virus closely resembled the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, which caused many transplant patients to die in the United States.
Dr Mike Catton from the Victorian Infectious Disease Laboratory, said, "I'm very pleased that out of a sad episode we've been able to draw some conclusions and find something new in a world first. It's a new virus and it's a new way of finding the virus."
Laboratory at Columbia University in New York analyzed the tissue samples taken from the dead transplant patients employing the recent gene sequencing methods. The new virus was detected in all the samples from recipients but was absent in the donor's tissue.
Victoria State's acting chief health officer Dr John Carnie says, "Organ transplant recipients are hit with a variety of drugs to suppress their immune system so that they don't reject the organ that's transplanted. So if you're immunosuppressed, any kind of infection can have devastating consequences, whether it's the common cold or influenza or anything like that."
Prospective transplant recipients and donors have been advised to keep an open mind about such procedures. This is only a stray incident and is certainly not the expected outcome of all organ transplants.