Hamster Virus Killed Husband, Widow Says

     PROVIDENCE (CN) – A transplant recipient died of a virus he contracted from the donor, who got it from her pet hamster, the recipient’s widow claims in Superior Court. Three other, similar claims have been filed, at least one of them alleging the organ recipient died from the hamster’s virus.

     Mary Petraszewski claims her husband, John, received a lung transplant at a Massachusetts hospital on April 10, 2005, and died of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) 23 days later.
     She claims the unnamed donor contracted the disease from her pet hamster, which she bought at Petsmart store in Warwick, R.I., which bought it from the defendant in this case, MidSouth Distributors of Ohio.
     She claims that “scientists determined” that her husband died of LCMV that the donor got from her hamster.
     Petraszewski claims it was “practical and feasible” for MidSouth to screen its rodents for LCMV, but “Defendant completely failed to conduct such screening.”
     Petraszewski’s complaint names three other organ recipients, all of whom, she says, “have similar cases pending in this court.”
     Represented by Jonathan Sweet of Boston, she demands damages for wrongful death, negligence and pain and suffering.

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