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Philadelphia Student’s Meningitis Death Tied To Last Year’s NJ Outbreak

Princeton University file (Photo: CBS 2)

Princeton University file (Photo: CBS 2)

CBS New York (con't)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A Philadelphia college student died of the same type of meningitis that caused an outbreak last year at Princeton University in New Jersey, federal health officials said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Drexel University student had been in close contact with Princeton students about a week before getting sick. She died March 10.

The CDC said Tuesday the findings suggest the B strain of meningitis might still exist in the Princeton community and are urging vigilance.

At Princeton, seven students and a visitor contracted meningitis in the outbreak through November. All recovered.

Princeton began administering a vaccine for the B strain for eligible students and staff in December. The vaccine for the B strain is only licensed for use in Europe and Australia, but not in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration allowed for its limited use at Princeton.

The school released a statement Tuesday reminding the community to continue to be vigilant.

“We’re urging all members of the Princeton University community to continue to help prevent the spread of disease by increasing hygienic practices, and not sharing drinking glasses, eating utensils, smoking materials and other items,” the university said.

Health officials said there is no outbreak at Drexel.

Meningitis can be spread by kissing, coughing and sneezing. Symptoms include headache, fever, vomiting and rashes. Bacterial meningitis is fairly rare in the United States. It can cause swelling of the brain and spinal cord and can even lead to death within just a few days.

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