SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

  U.C. Santa Barbara students may get a vaccine to protect them against the deadly strain of meningitis that's infected four people so far, but there is a catch-- this vaccine is not yet approved in the United States.

  The vaccine UCSB is trying to get is very similar to the one Princeton University started using last week.  Right now, officials at UCSB are working with the federal Centers for Disease Control, as well as state and local health officials,to get it approved.

  The university released this statement Friday afternoon, "The university is actively taking all of the necessary steps to ensure access to the unlicensed vaccine if it is recommended by health and medical experts."

  The move comes amid renewed concern about the disease, which can infect either the brain or the bloodstream.  The disease is highly contagious among people who live in close quarters. 


  While students wait for the vaccine, they are urged to practice good hygiene, and to avoid sharing drinks or cigarettes.