Rabies donor identified

11:56 AM, Mar 19, 2013   |    comments
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TRENTON, North Carolina (WNCN) -- A North Carolina woman said Monday she wasn't surprised to learn that her child's father was the Air Force aviation mechanic whose rabies-infected organs were transplanted into other recipients, including a Maryland man who died.

Alecia Mercer, 20, of Trenton, N.C., told The Associated Press that she was dubious when the military told her that William Edward Small died of a stomach virus in September 2011 while training in Florida. But she said military officials assured her that was the cause.

"He did a lot of trapping and hunting and stuff," she said. "He did the trapping, and he didn't care what the animal looked like. He just picked it up."

Military and state health officials visited Mercer last week at her home and told her that Small had died of rabies, Mercer said. At some point in his illness, she was told that he suffered food poisoning from fish. But then she was told he died of complications from a stomach virus, including severe dehydration.

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