meningitis outbreak at the Princeton University which had tapered off while most students were off campus during a break is back again.
Another student was diagnosed with the potentially deadly infection on Thursday, the eighth case since March at the University.
This is the second diagnosis in the past two weeks and the third over the last two months.
According to official sources, a female student went to the University health services after experiencing meningitis symptoms on Wednesday night.
She is reportedly the seventh student to be afflicted with ailment along with one visitor to the New Jersey-based Ivy League school. She was subsequently taken to a local hospital for medical intervention. All seven cases of meningitis that surfaced at the University this year, were caused by a rare meningococcal bacteria known as serotype B.
“Health officials will be conducting tests to determine if this latest case is related to the seven cases of meningitis associated with the University since March,” university spokesman Martin Mbugua said in an e-mail.
To stem the spread of the infection, the Ivy League school, the CDC and NJ Department of Health have taken steps to import Bexsero, a meningitis vaccine for limited use at Princeton. The vaccine is licensed for use in Europe and Australia but not in US.
What Is Meningitis?
Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges,the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord. It is usually caused by bacteria or viruses, but it can also be caused by certain medications or illnesses.
Bacterial meningitis is rare, but is usually serious with life-threatening consequences. In severe cases it causes blood poisoning and limbs have to be amputated to stem the infection. Bacterial meningitis needs prompt and urgent treatment with antibiotics.
Viral meningitis (also called aseptic meningitis) is relatively common and far less serious. It often remains undiagnosed because its symptoms can be similar to those of the common flu. Meningitis mostly hits kids at age five and younger and in between 16 to 25 year olds, but people can get meningitis at any stage of life.