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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 February, 2005, 16:42 GMT
Organ donor sparks rabies alarm
Poster warning of the dangers of Rabies (archive)
The disease is normally spread through bites from rabid mammals
Three people in Germany are seriously ill after receiving organ transplants from a woman infected with rabies, a transplant co-ordinating group says.

The woman did not display any symptoms of the disease at the time of her death, according to the group.

A number of other patients also received organs from the infected woman but are reportedly in better condition.

Rabies is a frequently fatal disease of the nervous system, typically transmitted to humans from dog bites.

It is often too late to treat the disease once symptoms, such as hallucinations, spasms, panic and coma, have begun to appear.

Thousands die from it every year in developing countries.

The German Foundation for Organ Transplants said it had no information on how the organ donor had contracted the disease.

Six hospitals in Germany had transplanted organs from the infected donor, a spokeswoman for Heidelberg University Hospital said.

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