Family of teen killed by meningitis lobbies for change

Teen's family hopes to change meningitis vaccination laws
Jacob Nunley, 18, died as a result of meningitis.
Jacob Nunley, 18, died as a result of meningitis.

(WMC-TV) - Tennessee state health officials have now found the source of a meningitis cluster that killed a Dyersburg college student.

Now, Jacob Nunley's family is hoping his recent death will change state law.

Jacob Nunley died from meningitis complications just days before his 19th birthday.

"You almost feel numb or like you keep waking up from the same bad dream that happens every night," said Chris Wilson.

Wilson is Nunley's uncle. He and other family members say Jacob was not vaccinated for meningitis before going to Middle Tennessee State University.

Now, his uncle and others plan to use Jacob's death as a platform to lobby change regarding meningitis vaccinations.

"I believe had it been a requirement or mandatory, I don't believe we'd be standing here having this conversation today," Wilson said.

Not all Tennessee colleges require a meningitis vaccine for incoming freshman.

"It's killing these college students and even though it's a small percentage, one life is worth gaining," said Wilson.

In addition to lobbying for new laws, Jacob Nunley's family also plans to raise awareness about meningitis, its causes, and its symptoms.

"With schools changing the requirement to make it mandatory for these incoming freshmen and allow them to be vaccinated and not just recommending it," he said.

Chris Wilson says he is working right now to set up meetings with local and state legislators.

He hopes to start lobbying for new laws about meningitis vaccines when the state legislature convenes in January.

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