San Francisco, CA – It’s almost like the plot of a horror movie. A 25-year-old infectious disease worker left work Friday only to die the next day after being infected with the contagious bacteria he had been working with.
The man worked at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center where, over the last few months, he had been working with a rare Neisseria meningitidis bacterial strain that causes septicemia and meningitis — both of which are nasty ways to go if left untreated.
Meningitis can lead to fever, headache, neck stiffness, coma and then death. By comparison, you would pray for this over septicemia, which is what investigators believe killed the man. Septicimia is inflammation of the bloodstream that causes bleeding into the skin and organs. A person unlucky enough to be afflicted with this blood poisoning can die very quickly from septic shock or ARDS.
Fellow employees described the man as competent and fully capable of handling the bacteria he was working with and the chief of the VA Hospital’s infectious diseases division said if the man had been working with the bacteria, he would have been wearing protective clothing from behind a protective safety cabinet or hood.…Continue Reading