Transmission of malaria tertiana by multi-organ donation

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In this report, transmission of malaria via a liver, a kidney, and possibly a heart allograft from a single donor is described. The donor had immigrated from Cameroon to Germany 18 months before, but had no clinical signs of active malaria infection. The liver transplant recipient and one of the two kidney transplant patients developed febrile illness with the appearance of Plasmodium vivax in blood smears 5 and 6 wk after transplantation, respectively. In the heart transplant recipient, a subclinical malaria infection was suspected based on a rise of malaria antibodies late after transplantation, whereas the recipient of the second kidney allograft had no clinical or laboratory evidence of malaria. Both liver and kidney recipients with active malaria responded to medical treatment. However, the liver transplant patient developed progressive cholestasis and died 5 months after transplantation from liver failure possibly due to side effects of the malaria medication. Other cases of malaria in solid organ recipients are briefly reviewed.

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