ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – A report issued Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that a man died from a fatal infection of the West Nile virus that he may have contracted through a blood transfusion.
Though humans primarily contract the virus through bites from mosquitoes that are carrying it, some cases also stem from transfusions of infected blood products or organs, the CDC noted in its release on the matter.
This was possibly how an unnamed patient with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma contracted the disease, after going to the hospital for procedures such as a stem cell transplant and chemotherapy.
“He had been screened for subclinical infections 14 days before stem cell collection, and all testing, including [Nucleic Acid Testing for the West Nile virus], was negative,” the release stated. “Stem cells were collected 8 days before admission and transplanted on hospital days 8 and 9. The patient developed gastrointestinal symptoms on hospital day 18, followed by fever and hypotension on hospital day 28.”
Soon after, other symptoms were said to have plagued the patient, including respiratory failure and changes in his mental stability. He ultimately died on his 47th day in the hospital.
Subsequent testing of any potentially contaminated blood products was performed after the patient’s health took a turn for the worse. And though the blood products used in his transfusion had passed initial testing per guidelines set forth by the Federal Drug Administration, they were found to test positive for West Nile, the CDC wrote.
“Per FDA guidelines, the donor was deferred from making further donations for 120 days after the implicated donation,” the CDC noted. “The donor had made seven donations of platelets and plasma in the 120 days before the implicated donation, and one donation of platelets and plasma 35 days after the implicated donation.”
The release added. “The blood products from those donations had been transfused to nine recipients.”
Researchers also found that four of those recipients had since passed away, though their symptoms were not that of the West Nile virus. The other five recipients are not showing signs of infection, though the CDC does note in its release that they “were monitored clinically and remained asymptomatic but were not tested for [the West Nile virus] infection.”