Steps To Safeguard Yourself From Ebola Virus Transmission Through Organ Donations

By on December 15, 2014

Even though, transmission of serious infections can take place through donation organ, but there is extremely small risk in Ebola virus transmission from an organ donor to recipient.

It was explained by experts in an editorial published in the American Journal of Transplantation that how simple assessments of organ donors can ensure the safety of organ supply, although this can show little impact on donor pool.

Daniel Kaul, MD, is the lead author of this study, and is also the director of the transplant infectious disease division at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and the chair of the United Network for Organ Sharing’s Disease Transmission Advisory Committee.

Ebola Virus Transmission - Organ TransmissionEven though, screening for infections in all organ donors is done, there are rare occasions in which transmission of unexpected infection from organ donor to recipient takes place.

With the recent occurrence of cases of Ebola virus in USA, clinicians want to make sure that appropriate steps are taken in order to reduce the already low risk that transmission of Ebola virus transmission takes place from donor to recipient.

Experts note that risk for harboring Ebola virus in donor can be assessed with the help of simple screening question, many of which are already asked. Moreover, it is not practical or effective to invest in laboratory based testing.

Dr. Kaul said that every year thousands of people in USA die waiting for organ transplantation. So, it is very important not to overreact about the very low risk of getting affected to Ebola virus in donor, and which results in unnecessarily discarding potential organs that can save lives.


Dr. Kaul and his colleagues suggested that organ donation should not be done by people who travelled countries in Africa where Ebola virus is active in the past 3 weeks, and others in USA, who were recently exposed to Ebola virus affected person.

As it is difficult to know for how many days a person after getting exposed to Ebola virus is to be barred from organ donation, Dr. Kaul and his colleagues felt that exclusion for organ donation for 21 days would be reasonable.

Dr. Kaul said that after 3 weeks periods i.e. after 21 days, recipient’s doctor can consider using the organ after taking to potential recipient, if organ transplant is the best chance for survival of recipient.

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