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Fourth student infected in meningitis outbreak at UC Santa Barbara

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UC-Santa Barbara freshman lacrosse player, Aaron Loy, is in the hospital after having to get both of his feet amputated when bacterial meningitis affected blood supply to his limbs.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department confirmed Monday all four students fell ill last month. Around 300 students known to have had contact with the infected are being administered antibiotics.

Meningitis is transmitted by prolonged contact, kissing, or coughing.

Symptoms for meningitis include headache, stiff neck, vomiting, fever and nausea. Princeton University, in New Jersey, also had a meningitis outbreak this year, putting the illness on both coasts within close timing of the other.

Tom Clark with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says he was surprised to even see two separate outbreaks so close to one another, let alone on opposite coasts.

"It's pretty unusual to have two outbreaks at the same time," he said. "Last year, we had about 500 cases of meningococcal disease in the nation, and 98% are sporadic and occur by themselves with no secondary cases. Only in about 2% of cases does transmission occur."

Last month Georgia Tech was investigating a case of possible meningitis after a student became ill. Students who had contact with that student were giving antibiotics.

Princeton University officials decided to make a meningitis vaccine available that hasn’t been approved in the U.S. Since March, seven cases of meningitis have been confirmed on the New Jersey campus with six students and a visitor diagnosed. None of the cases have been fatal.

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