A man receives a meningitis vaccine. (Damian Dovarganes/AP Photo)
A man receives a meningitis vaccine. (Damian Dovarganes/AP Photo)
A man receives a meningitis vaccine. (Damian Dovarganes/AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health regulators have approved the first vaccine to prevent a potentially deadly form of bacterial meningitis often associated with college dormitories.

The Food and Drug Administration says it cleared Pfizer’s Trumenba to prevent a subtype of Meningococcal disease in people ages 10 to 25. The bacteria infect the bloodstream and attack the lining surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

The disease spreads through saliva and other throat fluids via coughing, kissing and sharing utensils. College students living in communal housing are at a slightly higher risk.

Of the 500 cases of meningococcal disease reported in the U.S. in 2012, 160 were caused by the sub-group that Trumenba targets.

The disease can be treated with antibiotics, but vaccination is the most effective way to prevent its spread.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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