Bill To Protect Students From Meningitis Passes Legislature - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Bill To Protect Students From Meningitis Passes Legislature

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. –  A bill aimed at keeping college students safe from a rare illness has passed in the state legislature. The Jacob Nunley Act requires incoming college students who will live in a dorm or at a public university to get a vaccination to protect them against meningitis.

Jacob Nunley was an 18-year-old student at MTSU when he died last September from a rare form of bacterial meningitis. Menigicoccal disease is a bacterial infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It can be spread through close contact, including sharing drink bottles. Ten percent of people who contract the disease die, sometimes within 24 hours.

On Thursday, Nunley's mother was at the state capitol as she watched lawmakers pass the bill. Shawna McIntosh proudly wore a button to show support for her son and the bill. "The bill is just a great way to honor the memory of my son. I can't thank everybody enough," said McIntosh.

The bill has now passed in both the House and the Senate. "We think that what we did as a legislature today, goes a long way in preventing needless deaths and protects our most precious commodity and that's our children and our students at our public universities," said Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, a Democrat from Ripley.

"I know that bill is not going to bring my son back, but it will save someone's life one day," said McIntosh.

The Jacob Nunley Act will now head to Governor Bill Haslam for his signature. The bill will then become law immediately, meaning it will affect students this summer and in the fall.

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