Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More on Elizabeth R. Griffin

Elizabeth R. Griffin was the 22 year old researcher mentioned in class on Friday that was killed by a drop of virus to the eye. At the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, Griffin was moving a monkey infected with herpes B when the primate shot a drop of fluid into Griffin’s eye. The presumed likelihood of risk was very low, and Griffin was wearing gloves, a mask, and the proper lab clothes. It seemed to be a very insignificant event, but two weeks later, the drop of fluid began to cause headaches and an eye infection. With antiviral medication, Griffin was able to go home only to return to the Emory University Hospital ten days later after her legs became weak. Due to the low number of herpes B cases, it was difficult to find a treatment for Griffin’s lethal disease that causes encephalomyelitis, the inflammation of the brain and the spinal cord. Griffin died six weeks after the accident to bacterial infections and respiratory distress. There have only been 40 cases reported since 1933 involving primate-to-human transmission of herpes B. Herpes B is lethal 70 percent of the time.

Details can be found here:

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