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NJ State Officials Declare Princeton University’s Meningitis Problem an Outbreak

Update Date: Nov 11, 2013 02:55 PM EST

Princeton University is currently dealing with the seventh case of meningitis on campus. Meningitis first afflicted the Ivy League back in March. Due to the growing number, even though the cases are low, the State Department of Health decided to call the situation an outbreak. The department of health hopes that by declaring it an outbreak, students would become more aware of the situation and take measures to lower their risk of infection.

"The student developed symptoms of the illness yesterday and went to the university's McCosh Health Center," university spokesman Martin Mbugua said according to The Times of Trenton. "From there, he was taken to a local hospital early this morning."

According to the University, the male student was being treated this past Sunday. He was brought to the hospital and has been staying at there until his condition gets better. The six cases that Princeton University had to deal with earlier this year involved the B meningococcal bacteria strain. All of the patients, with five of them being students, were treated and had fully recovered.

In New Jersey, every student is required to be vaccinated against meningitis. Even though the vaccine protects against most strains, it does not protect against the B meningococcal bacteria strain. Meningitis leads to the inflammation of the membranes protecting the spinal cord and the brain. Meningitis can be transferred via kissing, lengthy contact and coughing. The usual symptoms include headache, fever, vomiting and rashes. In some cases, the condition could lead to brain damage, learning disabilities and hearing loss.

Although the officials have not found out whether or not the seventh case is tied to the other six cases, they are reminding students to stay clean and avoid sharing things, especially cups. The university has distributed 5,000, 16-ounce red drinking cups that has "Mines, Not Yours" printed on them to encourage people to avoid sharing. People should also cover their mouths and noses when they are coughing and sneezing, clean their hands frequently, and avoid smoking and excessive drinking.

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