| PHILADELPHIA, March 14
PHILADELPHIA, March 14 Drexel University
confirmed on Friday that a student died this week from the rare
strain of meningitis that hit Princeton University and the
University of California at Santa Barbara last fall.
Stephanie Ross, 19, a mechanical engineering major from the
Pittsburgh area, was found unresponsive in her room at Phi Mu
sorority last week, according to a letter sent to the university
community by school President John Fry. Lab tests confirmed that
the rare "serogroup B" strain was responsible for her death, the
university said in a statement.
Drexel, located in downtown Philadelphia, is tracking down
anyone who had recent contact with Ross in an effort to provide
prophylactic antibiotics to ward off infection, school officials
said in a statement.
Ross recently attended a regional officer training
conference for the Phi Mu sorority. The sorority's national
chapter said in a statement that it has contacted other
Meningitis is generally spread through close personal
contact such as kissing, sharing drinks or coughing. Most
college students are required to get a meningitis vaccination,
but that does not protect against this particular strain.
After eight students were infected at Princeton University,
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November allowed the
school to import a vaccine that is not approved in the United
States but is licensed in Europe and Australia.
In February, students at the University of California at
Santa Barbara began receiving the vaccine - known as Bexsero -
after an outbreak sickened four and led to one student having a
No one died at either school.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says
there are about 160 serotype B infections in the United States
Sunil Shah, 19, a biomedical engineering student at Drexel,
said students on Friday were made aware of the death and the
risk to those who were in contact with Ross, but were going
about their daily business.
"I know the school is taking it seriously because they've
sent several emails," he said.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Matthew Lewis)