A recent study reported by the Centers for Disease Control has highlighted rapidly fatal cases of mold infections after organ transplantation from drowning victims.
From 2011–2021, the CDC conducted 3 investigations involving 3 donors who drowned and 9 recipients who received organs from those donors.
The first case involved organs procured from a 2-year-old boy who was found unconscious in a pool. The boy’s kidneys were given to a 23-year-old man with end-stage renal disease. The man died of an invasive mold infection 10 days after the transplant. The boy’s liver was given to a 2-year-old girl who died of a fungal infection four days after transplant.
The second case involved organs donated by a 30-year-old man who died after having a cardiac arrest while swimming. The man’s liver was given to a 60-year-old man who died six days after transplantation. An autopsy found an invasive fungal infection from the liver. Two other recipients received the man’s kidneys with no ill effect.
The third case involved organs donated by a 41-year-old man who died after he had a seizure and fell in a lake. A 66-year-old man received his liver and a kidney and died eight weeks after the transplant. Three other patients were given the man’s pancreas, heart, and remaining kidney, in addition to an antifungal medication after being informed of the first recipient. These patients recovered.
The authors of the study recommend that doctors maintain suspicion for an invasive mold infection when caring for organ recipients of drowned donors and consider the use of antifungal medications.
Centrilobular hepatic necrosis without substantial inflammation; fungal hyphae are in a central vein (arrow) and throughout the sinusoids. From https://wwwnc.cdc. gov/eid/article/29/7/23-0524_article