SANTA CLARA, Calif. --A third Santa Clara University student was found with a meningococcal infection, which has led the school to offer antibiotics and vaccines for the rest of the campus community, Santa Clara County public health officials said today.
The three undergraduate students who became ill on Sunday were found with the serogroup B strain of the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis, public health officials said.
Two of the students were at the hospital in fair condition and the third was discharged as of this morning, according to public health officials.
More than 200 students have received antibiotics to stave off the disease, public health officials said.
Dr. Jill Rovaris, director of the university's Cowell Center for student health, said to her knowledge this week's meningitis cases were the first for the school.
A free vaccine clinic has been set up for students at the college's Leavey Center today and Friday.
Students will be given the Bexsero vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year specifically to fight off the serogroup B strain, public health officials said.
The Bexsero vaccine is given in two doses administered a month apart, university officials said.
Most students are already vaccinated against four types of meningitis, but not against the serogroup B strain, according to public health officials.
The county's Public Health Department learned about the third case on Wednesday afternoon.
In the two earlier cases, one of the students had meningococcal meningitis, which is the inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, and the other had meningococcal septicemia, a bloodstream infection, public health officials said.
Symptoms of meningitis include a sudden onset of fever, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, nausea, vomiting and confusion, according to public health officials.
Symptoms of septicemia are fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea and chills, among other traits, public health officials said.
The bacteria can be passed by spending a long period of time with someone or being in close proximity to them, according to public health officials.