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Rare bacteria kills lab researcher in San Francisco


A lab researcher died after working with rare bacteria in a VA medical center.



A researcher at an infectious disease lab died over the weekend after being exposed to a rare bacteria strain that he was working with, said health officials.

Richard Din, 25, worked at San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, reported the San Jose Mercury News.

California health authorities said that the victim had worked with the rare Neisseria meningitis bacterial strain for months before his death.

The Contra Costa Times reported that the recent UC-Berkeley biology grad left the lab last Friday and became ill during the evening with fever, chills and a headache.

By Saturday morning his symptoms had grown worse and he developed a body rash.

He called his friends to drive him to the hospital but died shortly after.

Public health officials are trying to locate everyone that came into contact with Din, including friends and family.

Reuters reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were looking into the death to confirm that he acquired it from lab work.

"If the fingerprints match, you know it's highly likely he acquired the infection from working in the lab," said Tom Skinner, a CDC offical, reported Reuters.

"Someone getting sick and dying from the organism they're working with in the lab is exceedingly rare," he went on to say.

There are about 1000 cases of meningococcal disease, or meningitis, each year in the United States.