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Officials: Rare bacteria may have caused San Francisco researcher's death

SAN FRANCISCO — Lab workers at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs medical center will be urged to get vaccinations for the diseases they study as a precaution as investigators continue looking into a researcher's death after he handled a rare strain of bacteria, officials said Thursday.

Richard Din, the meningitis research associate who died Saturday in a possible lab exposure, wasn't vaccinated for the illness despite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to the contrary. Nonetheless, the VA's Harry Lampiris said a vaccine may not have protected Din, 25, because he was helping to develop a vaccine for a meningitis strain resistant to vaccine.

Lampiris also said about 70 people who came into contact with Din recently — including family members, co-workers and medical personnel who treated him — received antibiotic treatments that are "100 percent effective" in combatting infection.

Din, who lived on San Francisco's Treasure Island, fell ill with a headache and other flu-like symptoms about two hours after leaving work Friday evening, Lampiris said.

He awoke Saturday feeling worse and with a rash all over his body, and he was rushed to the VA hospital by friends.


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