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Michael Price

Another Lab Death, This Time Due To Bacterial Infection

Richard Din, A 25-year-old research associate working in a San Francisco, California, Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center lab, died 28 April apparently due to a bacterial infection contracted at the lab. Details about the death were released last week and our sister publication, Science Insider, has full coverage.

Din was working with the bacterium Neisseria meningiditis, a biosafety level 2 pathogen that can trigger fatal meningococcal disease. It’s not clear yet how Din became infected with N. meningiditis, nor is it known whether appropriate safety measures were in place and being followed. A preliminary internal investigation found no problems with the biosafety hood under which Din was studying the bacterium.

The lab remains closed while local and federal investigators from the VA, the Department of Public Health, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration carry out further inspections. Stay tuned for more details as they come available.