CDC urging 23 to receive rabies vaccine after transplant-related death

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that it is encouraging 23 people to get the rabies vaccine after four patients were discovered to have received organs from an infected donor.

Public health officials in Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Maryland and North Carolina are searching for others that may have been exposed to the illness. A transplant recipient in Maryland who received an organ from the infected donor in 2011 died from rabies, according to Associated Press.

At least three patients who received organs from the same U.S. Air Force airman have remained in good health, but the CDC said health officials in the five states are still looking for 500 more people who may have had contact with an organ recipient, the donor or one of his organs. Approximately 90 percent have been assessed for their risk of infection.

Earlier in the week, a North Carolina woman said her father is the aviation mechanic whose rabies-infected organs were transplanted into other recipients. At the time of his death, his daughter was told that complications from a stomach virus had killed him. Doctors in Florida did not test the 20-year-old airman for rabies at the time of his death, Associated Press reports.