Health Officials Declare Meningitis Outbreak at Princeton University

New Jersey state health officials have declared a meningitis outbreak in Princeton University after doctors discovered a possible new case over the weekend. The New Jersey Department of Health says that since March, there have been six confirmed meningococcal cases that have been reported at the famous Ivy League school and there may be a seventh. According to the health department, the most recent case involved a male student who began to develop symptoms on Saturday and is currently hospitalized as authorities wait for lab results.

Authorities say all six confirmed cases were caused by the same strain of meningitis known as type B. Five of the six students affected became ill from an identical strain, however, due to testing limitations, doctors were unable to determine if another student suffered from the same exact strain. Officials say five of the students were diagnosed between late March and late June, while the other female student was diagnosed in October.

Health officials say the series of cases are considered an outbreak because all students involved were diagnosed with the same type of meningitis. Current vaccines protect against four different types of meningococcal disease, but they do not protect against type B. The disease can spread through various forms of contact including sharing food, utensils, and kissing. Meningitis can be deadly if it’s not diagnosed and treated early.