The dead man was in his 20s, but health officials are not releasing much information to protect the person’s privacy.
Rabies is a viral disease that can be transmitted from an infected animal to a human through a bite. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death within days.
This case is different because sources say the Maryland man died two weeks ago because he contracted the infection from a kidney he received from a Florida man at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in 2011.
Three people in other states received organs from the same donor, but their conditions were not immediately known.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compared rabies virus obtained from the recipient and determined that it was genetically identical to the virus recovered from the organ’s donor.
Transmission of rabies through organ or tissue transplant is extremely rare.
Potential organ donors are screened for a standard battery of infectious diseases before their organs are offered. However, rabies is not one of them.