Ten years of donor-derived disease: A report of the disease transmission advisory committee

Am J Transplant. 2021 Feb;21(2):689-702. doi: 10.1111/ajt.16178. Epub 2020 Jul 25.


Despite clinical and laboratory screening of potential donors for transmissible disease, unexpected transmission of disease from donor to recipient remains an inherent risk of organ transplantation. The Disease Transmission Advisory Committee (DTAC) was created to review and classify reports of potential disease transmission and use this information to inform national policy and improve patient safety. From January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2017, the DTAC received 2185 reports; 335 (15%) were classified as a proven/probable donor transmission event. Infections were transmitted most commonly (67%), followed by malignancies (29%), and other disease processes (6%). Forty-six percent of recipients receiving organs from a donor that transmitted disease to at least 1 recipient developed a donor-derived disease (DDD). Sixty-seven percent of recipients developed symptoms of DDD within 30 days of transplantation, and all bacterial infections were recognized within 45 days. Graft loss or death occurred in about one third of recipients with DDD, with higher rates associated with malignancy transmission and parasitic and fungal diseases. Unexpected DDD was rare, occurring in 0.18% of all transplant recipients. These findings will help focus future efforts to recognize and prevent DDD.

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees
  • Communicable Diseases* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Organ Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Tissue Donors
  • Transplant Recipients