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Study: Organ donor with rabies had 2 raccoon bites

Published On: Jul 24 2013 11:18:30 AM CDT   Updated On: Jul 24 2013 11:19:18 AM CDT
William Small

A new report shows that an Air Force recruit from Jones County whose organs were donated to four patients, including a kidney recipient who died of rabies, had at least two untreated raccoon bites several months before he became sick.

The report also notes that tests confirmed  that William Small's rabies-infected kidney caused the recipient's disease. Small was from Trenton.

The report was compiled by researchers from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others, and published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Doctors initially attributed the donor's death to other causes. But during an investigation prompted by the kidney recipient's death in February, lab testing found evidence of rabies in the donor's brain tissue and also detected encephalitis, a brain inflammation that can be caused by rabies.