Emerging Infectious Diseases (2019-04-01)

Francisella tularensis Transmission by Solid Organ Transplantation, 2017

  • Christina A. Nelson,
  • Christian Murua,
  • Jefferson M. Jones,
  • Kelli Mohler,
  • Ying Zhang,
  • Landon Wiggins,
  • Natalie A. Kwit,
  • Laurel Respicio-Kingry,
  • Luke C. Kingry,
  • Jeannine M. Petersen,
  • Jennifer Brown,
  • Saima Aslam,
  • Melissa Krafft,
  • Shadaba Asad,
  • Hikmat N. Dagher,
  • John Ham,
  • Luis H. Medina-Garcia,
  • Kevin Burns,
  • Walter E. Kelley,
  • Alison F. Hinckley,
  • Pallavi Annambhotla,
  • Karen Carifo,
  • Anthony Gonzalez,
  • Elizabeth Helsel,
  • Joseph Iser,
  • Michael Johnson,
  • Curtis L. Fritz,
  • Sridhar V. Basavaraju

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 25, no. 4
pp. 767 – 775


Read online

In July 2017, fever and sepsis developed in 3 recipients of solid organs (1 heart and 2 kidneys) from a common donor in the United States; 1 of the kidney recipients died. Tularemia was suspected only after blood cultures from the surviving kidney recipient grew Francisella species. The organ donor, a middle-aged man from the southwestern United States, had been hospitalized for acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome, pneumonia, and multiorgan failure. F. tularensis subsp. tularensis (clade A2) was cultured from archived spleen tissue from the donor and blood from both kidney recipients. Whole-genome multilocus sequence typing indicated that the isolated strains were indistinguishable. The heart recipient remained seronegative with negative blood cultures but had been receiving antimicrobial drugs for a medical device infection before transplant. Two lagomorph carcasses collected near the donor’s residence were positive by PCR for F. tularensis subsp. tularensis (clade A2). This investigation documents F. tularensis transmission by solid organ transplantation.