The Florida Department of Health is working alongside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a multi-state epidemiological investigation related to the rabies death of an organ transplant recipient. The deceased was one of four individuals who received an organ from a single donor. The donor became ill, was admitted to a health care facility in Florida and died in late 2011.
The donor was a previous resident of North Carolina where it is believed the exposure may have occurred, prior to his relocation to Florida. It is not yet known how the donor contracted the disease. Testing for rabies was not performed at the time of donor death and rabies was only recently confirmed as the cause of death as part of the current investigation. The type of rabies virus found in both the donor and recipient is of raccoon origin, meaning the virus can infect not only raccoons, but also other wild and domestic animals. In the United States, only one other person has ever died from this type of rabies virus.
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