SAN FRANCISCO – Lab workers at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs medical center will be urged to get vaccinations for the diseases they study as a precaution as investigators continue looking into a researcher’s death after he handled a rare strain of bacteria, officials said Thursday.

Richard Din, the meningitis research associate who died Saturday from a possible lab exposure, wasn’t vaccinated for the illness despite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to the contrary. Nonetheless, the VA’s Harry Lampiris said a vaccine may not have protected Din, 25, because he was helping to develop a vaccine for a meningitis strain resistant to vaccine.

Din fell ill with a headache and other flu-like symptoms about two hours after leaving work Friday, Lampiris said. He awoke Saturday feeling worse and with a rash all over his body, and he was rushed to the VA hospital by friends.

Lampiris said Din lost consciousness in the car and died in the hospital of a heart attack about 2 p.m. The vaccine-resistant strain of bacteria was found in his bloodstream.

Lampiris said it is unclear how Din was exposed to the bacteria.