CDC: Drexel University death connected to Princeton University meningitis outbreak

PHILADELPHIA - March 18, 2014

CDC investigators say 19-year-old Stephanie Ross, of Pittsburgh, had been in close contact with students from Princeton University about a week before she fell ill.

Ross was found unresponsive at her sorority house last week and pronounced dead at the hospital.

The strain that infected Ross, Meningitis Type B, had been detected at Princeton. The strains were matched by "genetic fingerprinting," the CDC said.

It's Spring Break at Princeton and the few students still on campus are surprised to learn of the news.

"I can imagine how students outside of Princeton would not be alert to the symptoms because it's not something people are pushing," said Peter Kunze, student.

After seven students and a visitor were sickened on campus last year, Princeton launched an effort to inoculate thousands of undergraduates against the rare strain of meningitis.

Princeton University released a statement saying "The case indicates the outbreak strain may still be present. It does not indicate whether or not more cases will occur at Drexel or Princeton"

"If this has spread beyond Princeton as it obviously has in a very dramatic fashion, then it seems perhaps they should look into allowing the vaccine onto more campuses then just this one," said Ben Tauv, student.

"College life is conducive to spreading that kind of thing. I mean we have that with Gastroenteritis every year as well. I'm just really sad. It was so terrible what happened," said Jasmine Edelstein, student.

Friends and those who came in close contact with Ross, who lived in a sorority house at Drexel, were given antibiotics. However the CDC is not recommending large-scale vaccinations at Drexel as it did at Princeton.

"I think there's a degree of safety on campus because we all have it but I think this death off-campus is definitely raising the flag that it's a larger problem," said Mackenzie Dooner, student.

Symptoms of meningitis include sudden headache, fever and vomiting. The University is warning students again not to share drinking glasses and eating utensils as they may help spread the disease.

Campus officials have also given students a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding meningitis.

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