Indianapolis Star (Internet / Print) 05/28/06 A virus killed three patients in the U.S. last year after they received donated body organs, and a pet hamster may be partly to blame, a report says. The patients all received drugs that suppressed their immune systems to prevent organ rejection, which may have allowed the virus to thrive. In people without normal immunity, the rodent-borne virus can resemble lassa fever, an often deadly West African malady, said C.J. Peters, who wrote a commentary accompanying the research report. "In any immune-compromised person, you have a risk of having the virus spread through the body," said Peters, 65, a professor of tropical and emerging virology at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. "You develop shock, you hemorrhage, and you may die."