Researcher Death Highlights Dangers of Pathogen Work, Veterans Health Research Institute Reveals
5/11/2012 7:20:30 AM
A researcher in the US has died of a disease caused by the bacteria he was studying. The tragedy highlights the dangers of research on human respiratory germs. Research on airborne mutants of H5N1 bird flu is currently under an indefinite moratorium, partly over fears of just such laboratory infections. Richard Din was working on Neisseria meningitidis at the Veterans Health Research Institute in San Francisco. The bacteria live harmlessly in the noses of 10 per cent of people, especially teenagers. Yet some strains cause meningitis or blood infection – sepsis – in 1.2 million people a year worldwide when inhaled.