Transmission of human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C virus from an organ donor to four transplant recipients

Am J Transplant. 2011 Jun;11(6):1218-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2011.03597.x.


In 2007, a previously uninfected kidney transplant recipient tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Clinical information of the organ donor and the recipients was collected by medical record review. Sera from recipients and donor were tested for serologic and nucleic acid-based markers of HIV and HCV infection, and isolates were compared for genetic relatedness. Routine donor serologic screening for HIV and HCV infection was negative; the donor's only known risk factor for HIV was having sex with another man. Four organs (two kidneys, liver and heart) were transplanted to four recipients. Nucleic acid testing (NAT) of donor sera and posttransplant sera from all recipients were positive for HIV and HCV. HIV nucleotide sequences were indistinguishable between the donor and four recipients, and HCV subgenomic sequences clustered closely together. Two patients subsequently died and the transplanted organs failed in the other two patients. This is the first recognized cotransmission of HIV and HCV from an organ donor to transplant recipients. Routine posttransplant HIV and HCV serological testing and NAT of recipients of organs from donors with suspected risk factors should be considered as routine practice.

MeSH terms

  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Hepatitis C / transmission*
  • Humans
  • Organ Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Tissue Donors*