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Cal State Long Beach student diagnosed with bacterial meningitis

California State University, Long Beach students are seen on campus in this undated file photo.

November 27, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A California State University, Long Beach student has been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, officials with the university confirmed Tuesday.

The student lives off campus. The Health Department says it has already identified people who may have been in contact with the infected student. Those people are being tested.

Long Beach is not the only college campus to encounter a meningitis scare. UC Santa Barbara is investigating three cases of students who were diagnosed with the bacterial infection, and Princeton University has seen seven people come down with the illness since March.

As a result, Princeton decided to allow students and employees to take a vaccine that has not been approved in the U.S. The vaccine has been approved for use in Europe and Australia. The vaccine will be available to the campus Dec. 9.

Meningitis is a fairly rare illness in the U.S., but those who catch it develop symptoms quickly and can die in a couple of days. Survivors can suffer mental disabilities, hearing loss and paralysis.

Meningitis causes swelling of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms can include fever, headache, a rash, body aches and nausea. Meningitis can be spread through kissing, coughing or lengthy contact.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.