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Cell Tissue Bank. 2006;7(3):147-66.

Bacterial infection transmitted by human tissue allograft transplantation.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, USA. EASTL002@umn.edu


Bacterial contamination of tissue allografts obtained from cadaveric donors has been a serious cause of morbidity and mortality in recipients. Recent cases of fatal and nonfatal bacterial infections in recipients of contaminated articular cartilage (distal femur) and tendon allografts have called attention to the importance of avoiding tissue donors suspected of carrying infectious disease, of not processing donated tissue carrying virulent bacteria, the occurrence of falsely negative final sterility tests, and the need to sterilize tissues. These cases demonstrated that contamination can arise from an infected donor, during tissue removal from cadaveric donors, from the processing environment, and from contaminated supplies and reagents used during processing. Final sterility testing can be unreliable, especially when antibiotics remain on tissues. There is an increasing need for control of microbial contamination in tissue banks, and sterilization of tissue allografts should be recommended whenever possible.

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