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Princeton Begins School-Wide Meningitis Vaccinations

Jeffrey Hamilton/Thinkstock(PRINCETON, N.J.) -- Earning a degree at Princeton comes with an unexpected bonus: a free vaccination against meningitis.

The unusual program came about because eight students at the Ivy League university were diagnosed with the serious disease that, left untreated, can cause diabetes, deafness and even death.

On Monday, Princeton began offering shots of a vaccine that has been imported from abroad because the Food and Drug Administration has not approved the medicine to protect against the B strain of meningitis found on campus.

The plan is to vaccinate all 6,000 students by Thursday and then bring them back next February for a second round of shots to ensure they don't contract the disease.

Last week, the University of California, Santa Barbara revealed that four students were infected with the same strain although the two events are unrelated.  Due to complications from meningitis B, the feet of one freshman had to be amputated.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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