SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — Health officials are trying to determine how a rare strain of bacteria infected and apparently led to the death of a researcher at a Veteran’s Affairs infectious diseases lab in San Francisco.
The man, identified by the medical examiner’s office as 25-year-old Richard Din, died Saturday morning after working in a lab at the medical center, said Erika Monterroza, a spokeswoman for the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is investigating the death.
The cause of death has yet to be determined, but Din had apparently been working with the bacterium meningococcus at the lab prior to his death, Monterroza said.
She said Din was employed by the Northern California Institute for Research and Education, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing veterans’ health research that is based at the VA Medical Center at 4150 Clement St.
The institute notified Cal/OSHA of the death on Sunday, prompting the agency to launch an investigation. The California and San Francisco public health departments were also notified, Monterroza said.
Cal/OSHA has six months to complete an investigation, and if workplace violations are uncovered, the employer could face citations and fines, Monterroza said.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health was trying to locate everyone who had close contact with the researcher during the time he was infected.
City health spokeswoman Eileen Shields said friends and people who worked with man, as well as about 60 health workers involved in his treatment, were being given antibiotics.
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