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

M. G. Ison, E. Llata, C. S. Conover, J. J. Friedewald, S. I. Gerber, A. Grigoryan, W. Heneine, J. M. Millis, D. M. Simon, C. G. Teo, M. J. Kuehnert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


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. The authors present details regarding a case in which HCV and HIV infections were transmitted from a single donor to multiple recipients. See editorial by Blumberg on page 1117.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1218-1225
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Donor-to-host transmission
  • HCV
  • HIV
  • nucleic acid diagnostics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Immunology and Allergy


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