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U.S. News

Organ Donors to Be Screened for Infections by New Test

September 22, 2011

CDC on Wednesday released new draft guidelines for reducing the risk of HIV and hepatitis B and C virus transmission through solid organ transplants. In updating its 1994 recommendations, CDC calls for serologic screening for HIV, HBV, and HCV; and for more sensitive nucleic acid testing (NAT) for HIV and HCV, and under certain circumstances for HBV.


While disease transmission through organ transplants are rare, CDC investigated more than 200 suspected cases from 2007 to 2010, including HIV, HBV, and HCV infections. Some confirmed transmissions led to the death of recipients.

NAT can pick up newly acquired infections sooner than standard tests measuring antibodies, which may take months to become evident. NAT can detect infection within seven days of a patient's acquiring one. CDC recommends NAT screening for live donors be administered not longer than seven days prior to the organ's removal. For deceased donors, testing should be conducted either before, if timing allows, or after the organ is procured.

By 2008, about half of the 58 US organ-procurement organizations already conducted NAT screening for HIV and HCV on some or all donors, found a CDC study. Such screening is nearly double the cost of antibody testing, although it represents relatively little of a transplant's total cost.

The proposal also revises donor risk factors to give clinicians a more thorough picture of potential risks.

"While recognizing the critical need for organs, our team also wants to ensure recipients are protected from getting unexpected diseases from the organs they receive," said Dr. Matthew J. Kuehnert, director of CDC's Office of Blood, Organ, and Other Tissue Safety.

For more information about the proposal, published in the Federal Register and open to public comment for 60 days, visit:!docketDetail;dct=FR%252BPR%252BN%252BO%252BSR;rpp=10;po=0;D=CDC-2011-0011.

Back to other news for September 2011

Adapted from:
Wall Street Journal
09.22.2011; Laura Landro

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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