Survival after transplantation of corneas from a rabies-infected donor

Vetter, J.M.; Frisch, L.; Drosten, C.; Ross, R.S.; Roggendorf, M.; Wolters, B.; Müller, Thomas GND; Dick, H.B.; Pfeiffer, N.

PURPOSE: : To examine the tissue samples of 2 corneal recipients from a rabies-infected donor for the presence of rabies to explain their survival. METHODS: : Interventional case series with a review of the literature. The explanted corneal donor buttons were examined via nested reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. The patients were followed up ophthalmologically and neurologically. Antirabies antibodies were measured in blood samples, and skin biopsies were examined by direct fluorescent antibody staining. RESULTS: : Two patients received corneas from the same multiorgan donor. Six weeks after transplantation, 3 of the donor's organ recipients became symptomatic and rabies virus was confirmed in tissue from the donor's central nervous system. Immediately, both the corneal recipients underwent active and passive postexposure treatment. The corneal buttons were replaced. Examination of the explanted donor corneas, skin biopsies, and serum and saliva samples showed no signs of rabies infection. The 2 corneal recipients were followed up at our hospital and, to date, are without symptoms of infection. CONCLUSIONS: : Transmission of the potentially deadly rabies virus by corneal transplantation has been described previously. To our knowledge, this is the first report in which no rabies virus transmission occurred without immediate postexposure treatment

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Zitierform:

Vetter, J.M. / Frisch, L. / Drosten, C. / et al: Survival after transplantation of corneas from a rabies-infected donor. 2011.

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