Recognizing and testing for Chagas disease
Published on: Sunday, April 19, 2015
The OPTN Ad Hoc Disease Transmission Advisory Committee (DTAC) has reviewed a number of donor-derived transmissions of geographically associated diseases. In some cases, these transmissions have resulted in severe morbidity and mortality. Further, these diseases can be challenging to recognize during the donor evaluation process. The DTAC presented a poster at the 2014 World Transplant Congress, Improving Awareness of Donor-Derived Geographically Associated Infections, to share its experience. From January 2008 through October 2013, the Committee reviewed 105 reports of potential donor-derived disease involving seasonal and geographically endemic infections. Of these, 39 were classified as proven or probable transmissions. While, specific testing is not currently required for organ donors, the DTAC developed guidance for recognizing these infections in living organ donors. The information may also be helpful to OPOs when considering information gathered in the medical-social evaluation.
Chagas disease, caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, has been associated with eight donors reported to the OPTN from 2008 through 2014. Two were ultimately classified as proven or probable transmission events. Recognizing Chagas disease in organ donors and transplant recipients has been of specific interest to the CDC’s Parasitic Diseases Branch. This CDC article discusses preventing the infection in transplant recipients, along with suggestions on donor screening and recipient monitoring.