Transplantation of organs and tissues from healthy donors or cadavers (dead bodies) to people whose bodies have been damaged by disease, injury, or wear and tear has become a common part of medical practice. Organs such as kidneys, hearts, livers, and lungs, as well as tissues such as corneas, tendons, skin, and bones, are routinely transplanted. One cadaver can be the source of several donated organs and as many as 100 tissues (which can be stored for many months or years). Unfortunately, in addition to the potentially healing effects of transplantation, many serious disease agents can be transmitted from the donor to the recipient, such as hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is a leading and potentially fatal cause of chronic liver disease. An organ donor with HCV infection has a great risk for transmitting the virus to a recipient. On the other hand, HCV transmission has rarely been reported in patients who have received tissue transplants, and no transmissions have been reported when the donor has tested negative for infection by using up-to-date antibody assays. An even more sensitive method of detecting HCV infection in the donor consists of testing for the presence of components of the virus itself (HCV RNA), but this test is time-consuming and expensive and is not currently required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.