Background: Owing to limited availability of donor organs, previous solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients are increasingly considered as potential organ donors. We report donor-derived transmission of herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2) to two clusters of SOT recipients with transmission from the original donor and an HSV-2–infected recipient who subsequently became a donor. Methods: We reviewed medical records of the donors and recipients in both clusters. Pre-transplant serology and virological features of HSV-2 were characterized. Genotyping of HSV-2 isolates to determine potential for donor transmission of HSV-2 through transplantation of organs from prior organ recipients was performed. Results: A kidney-pancreas recipient died day 9 post transplant. Following confirmation of brain death, the lungs and recently transplanted kidney were donated to two further recipients. The liver was not retrieved, but biopsy confirmed HSV-2 infection. Testing on the original donor showed negative HSV-2 polymerase chain reaction and HSV immunoglobulin (Ig)M, but positive HSV-2 IgG. The liver recipient from the original donor developed HSV-2 hepatitis and cutaneous infection that responded to treatment with intravenous acyclovir. In the second cluster, lung and kidney recipients both developed HSV-2 viremia that was successfully treated with antiviral therapy. Genotyping of all HSV-2–positive samples showed 100% sequence homology for three recipients. Conclusions: Donor-derived HSV infection affected two clusters of recipients because of transplantation of organs from a prior organ recipient. HSV should be considered as a possible cause of illness in febrile SOT recipients in the immediate post-transplant period and may cause disseminated disease and re-infection in HSV-2–seropositive recipients. Testing of HSV serology and prophylaxis may be considered in SOT recipients not receiving cytomegalovirus prophylaxis.
- allograft re-use
- donor-derived infection
- herpes simplex virus hepatitis