Risk for transmission of Naegleria fowleri from solid organ transplantation.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) caused by the free-living ameba (FLA) Naegleria fowleri is a rare but rapidly fatal disease of the central nervous system (CNS) affecting predominantly young, previously healthy persons. No effective chemotherapeutic prophylaxis or treatment has been identified. Recently, three transplant-associated clusters of encephalitis caused by another FLA, Balamuthia mandrillaris, have occurred, prompting questions regarding the suitability of extra-CNS solid organ transplantation from donors with PAM. During 1995-2012, 21 transplant recipients of solid organs donated by five patients with fatal cases of PAM were reported in the United States. None of the recipients developed PAM, and several recipients tested negative for N. fowleri by serology. However, historical PAM case reports and animal experiments with N. fowleri, combined with new postmortem findings from four patients with PAM, suggest that extra-CNS dissemination of N. fowleri can occur and might pose a risk for disease transmission via transplantation. The risks of transplantation with an organ possibly harboring N. fowleri should be carefully weighed for each individual recipient against the potentially greater risk of delaying transplantation while waiting for another suitable organ. In this article, we present a case series and review existing data to inform such risk assessments.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Roy, SL; Metzger, R; Chen, JG; Laham, FR; Martin, M; Kipper, SW; Smith, LE; Lyon, GM; Haffner, J; Ross, JE; Rye, AK; Johnson, W; Bodager, D; Friedman, M; Walsh, DJ; Collins, C; Inman, B; Davis, BJ; Robinson, T; Paddock, C; Zaki, SR; Kuehnert, M; DaSilva, A; Qvarnstrom, Y; Sriram, R; Visvesvara, GS

Published Date

  • January 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 14 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 163 - 171

PubMed ID

  • 24279908

Pubmed Central ID

  • 24279908

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1600-6143

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/ajt.12536


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States