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Md. rabies death was from organ transplant

Friday - 3/15/2013, 9:36am  ET

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a rabies death in Maryland was caused by an organ transplant.

The agency said Friday that three other people in Florida, Georgia and Illinois who got organs from the same donor are getting anti-rabies shots.

Citing anonymous sources, The Washington Post reports the Maryland victim was a man infected with the virus through a kidney transplant.

The Post says the man died at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in D.C. and received the kidney from a Florida donor during an operation at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in 2011.

The donor died in Florida a in 2011 after moving there from North Carolina.

The CDC says it's working with public health officials and health care facilities in all five states to identify people who were in close contact with the initial donor or the four organ recipients. The agency says those people might need rabies post-exposure treatment.

The Maryland death is the first rabies death since 1976.

The U.S. has averaged fewer than five human rabies cases each year over the last 10 years. In 2012, Maryland detected 320 animals with rabies in the state.

(Copyright 2013 by WTOP and The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)