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8th meningitis case reported at Princeton

An eighth meningitis case has been reported at Princeton University, where health officials have been probing an outbreak of meningococcal disease since this spring.

The university said today that the female student developed symptoms Wednesday night and is hospitalized.

Authorities are conducting tests to determine if the case is related to the seven other Princeton meningitis cases reported at Princeton since March.

Meningitis can be deadly, but is treatable with antibiotics if caught early. The disease spreads through close personal contact, such as sharing food and utensils, or kissing.

All seven cases reported earlier have been caused by the same strain of meningitis, type B. Vaccines in use in the United States protect against four strains of meningococcal disease, but not against type B.

Princeton said earlier this week that it would make a vaccine for type B that hasn't been approved in the United States available on campus next month. The school says the plan was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration approved importing the vaccine last month for potential use at the university.

The New Jersey Department of Health says no common link has been identified among the students, but the cases are considered an outbreak because of the number of students diagnosed with the same type of meningitis in a short time period.

The university says events and activities on campus are continuing as planned.

Symptoms of meningitis include fever, headache, body aches, fatigue, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. Princeton is urging any students with high fevers to go to University Health Services.