ISLA VISTA, Calif. -

Monday night, UCSB students said they were notified by email that a fourth student is being treated for meningococcal disease.  Public health officers said the life-threatening disease has affected three young men and a young woman, all undergraduate students.

Since three of the students contracted the disease within the same week in November, it is considered an outbreak.

To combat the spread, The Santa Barbara County Health Department requested a suspension of social events including parties sponsored by Greek organizations.

Reaction from sorority sisters and fraternity brothers is supportive.

Students said their focus should be on studying this week because finals start next week.

And if social interaction takes place, they said they know not to share bottles, or even kisses with strangers.

The bacteria that can lead to meningitus or sepsis can be spread like the common cold. Health officers recommend maintaining hygiene. If symptoms such as fever, headache, stiff neck or vomiting occur, students are urged to go to the campus health services office and to minimize exposure to others.