A 22-year-old Dillard University student died Friday as the result of a rare blood infection that strikes quickly and can cause death within two days, the Times-Picayune newspaper reports.

Dillard spokeswoman Karen Celestan said she could not release the name of the student, citing the family's request for privacy.

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New Orleans Health Department Director Kevin Stephens said the bloodstream infection, which is related to the meningitis family and causes flu-like symptoms and a rash in its early stages, is difficult to treat because it moves quickly, but some vaccines are effective.

Students are encouraged to get a meningitis vaccine and to wash hands frequently, cover the mouth when coughing and sneezing and refrain from sharing personal items such as razors.