Malcolm Casadaban, a researcher at the University of Chicago, died last week, reports the Chicago Tribune. A cause of death was not immediately obvious, though he was exposed to a weakened form of the plague bacterium, Yersinia pestis. Casadaban studied the federally-approved version of organism to develop a stronger vaccine against the bacterium. Ken Alexander, the chief of pediatric infectious disease at the medical center, says that the risk of an outbreak from this is very low and that there likely was something about Casadaban that made him more susceptible to infection. "As colleagues, we all feel we owe it to this man to find out what was different about him," Alexander says to the Tribune. "Given his field of research, I think that's what he would have wanted."
His Plague Work Goes On
Sep 21, 2009