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230 Oregon State students may have been exposed to meningococcal disease; 2 ill

FILE - In this April 2016 file photo, Oregon State University students walk past the Student Health Services building in Corvallis, Ore. Two Oregon State University students have been sickened with meningococcal disease, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. (Anibal Ortiz/The Corvallis Gazette-Times via AP)

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Health officials have confirmed that both Oregon State University students sickened with meningococcal disease are infected with the same strain of the illness.

The Corvallis Gazette-Times reports (http://bit.ly/2flWH1Y ) that testing has confirmed that both students are infected with the B strain of meningococcal disease. Previously one student's strain was unidentified.

No additional cases have been diagnosed in Benton County.

The names of the two infected students have not been released because of federal privacy restrictions.

OSU Student Health Services on Friday began offering vaccinations against the B strain to students under 25.

"We'll be communicating to students as they leave (campus) for the Thanksgiving holiday to continue to watch for symptoms," said Steve Clark, OSU's vice president for marketing and university relations.

Meningococcal disease primarily affects young people.

Most incoming OSU students are required to be inoculated against four of the most common strains of the disease, but the vaccine does not protect against the B strain.

The disease is not highly contagious, but it is considered dangerous and potentially fatal.

OSU and Benton County health officials are working to identify people who may have been exposed to the infected students and to treat them with antibiotics as a preventative measure.

"We have about 230 on our list," said Charlie Fautin, deputy administrator of the Benton County Health Department.

Symptoms of meningococcal disease include high fever, headache, stiff neck, exhaustion, nausea, rash, vomiting and diarrhea. Anyone experiencing these symptoms is advised to seek medical attention right away.

An outbreak of meningococcal disease at the University of Oregon in 2015 sickened seven people and killed one student.

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Information from: Gazette-Times, http://www.gtconnect.com

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press

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