Boston University – A Case of Laboratory Acquired Meningococcal Meningitis


A graduate student in certainly one of Boston University’s (BU) labs was sickened having an infection with the bacterium, Neisseria meningitidis.
This connection was confirmed by genetic fingerprinting performed by Hawaii laboratory. A blood sample through the student matched bacterial matter recovered from the lab.
This isn’t first time BU scientists are becoming ill by laboratory-acquired infections. In 2004, 3 scientists became infected while using an agent that creates tularemia. The investigation into that case revealed sloppy lab practices and a failure to report promptly.
The latest laboratory-acquired infection has occurred in a bad time for Boston University. A federal health agency is performing what is likely the ultimate overview of an expensive and controversial lab project with a high-security biosafety-4 lab built to help very deadly agents like Ebola.
Meningococcal meningitis is due to the bacterium, Neisseria meningitides, which then causes one of the most severe kinds of bacterial meningitis. Meningitis is surely an infection of the membranes covering the brain and vertebrae. It can also be perfectly located at the bloodstream. This particular form of meningitis is extremely severe and may result in death or even treated promptly. Even in cases where treatment has been given, the fatality rates are around 15%.
The signs of bacterial meningitis are sudden, with fever, stiff neck, body aches, and headaches. As the disease progresses other symptoms might include nausea, vomiting, photophobia, and seizures. A petechial rash seen about the trunk and lower extremities, bleeding complications, multi-organ failures, and shock are generally final signs. This disease has the capacity to kill within hours of getting it.
Up to 10-20% of older children and the younger generation carry this organism inside the mouth and nose, the carriage rate will vary with age and closeness of population. The majority of people that carry this bacterium haven’t any clinical disease. The organism is spread one person to another through respiratory secretions through the nose and mouth (coughing, sneezing, and kissing). Experts are unsure why a lot of people advance to meningitis disease although tend not to.
There is often a vaccine for Neisseria meningitis and vaccination for laboratory personnel might be considered. The vaccine does not drive back all strains of the organism and won’t totally get rid of the risk.
The graduate student has recovered.