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CDC Moves to Make Organ Transplantation Safer

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) -- More thorough donor screening and more advanced organ testing to help protect transplant patients from infectious diseases are recommended in a draft of an updated organ transplant guideline released Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The goal of the new guideline is to reduce infections such as HIV (the virus that causes AIDS), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Screening is already done for HIV, but HBV and HCV should be added to the screening process, the CDC said.

From 2007 to 2010, the CDC was involved in more than 200 investigations of suspected, unexpected transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C through transplants. In some of the confirmed cases, the transplant recipient died due to the infection.

The existing guideline was created in 1994. Other major proposed changes to the guideline include updated and more sensitive tests for donor organs, and a revised set of donor risk factors that can help doctors get a better idea of possible problems with donors' organs.

The new draft guideline focuses on organ safety because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already implemented tighter regulations for tissue and semen donors.

"Our first priority must be patient safety. These recommendations will save lives and reduce unintended disease in organ recipients," Dr. Matthew J. Kuehnert, director of the CDC's Office of Blood, Organ and Other Tissue Safety Office, said in a CDC news release. "The guideline will help patients and their doctors have information they need to fully weigh risks and benefits of transplanting a particular organ."

The Draft 2011 Public Health Service Guideline for Reducing Transmission of HIV, HBV, and HCV through Solid Organ Transplantation can be found at The review-and-comment period will last 60 days.

More information

The United Network for Organ Sharing has more about organ transplantation.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Sept. 21, 2011

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