A student at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro has died from what appears to be an extremely rare case of bacterial meningitis.
Jacob Nunley, 18, died at 8 a.m. Monday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
He was admitted to the hospital just two hours earlier, a hospital spokesperson said.
Nunley, a freshman from Dyersburg, was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and lived in the fraternity house on Greek Row on the MTSU campus.
Health officials have deemed the property safe for the occupancy of other residents. As a precaution, other house residents were given a precautionary antibiotic.
Student Sean Bart told Nashville's News 2 he met Nunley last semester.
"He was one of the first people I met when I came here," Bart recalled. "He was always upbeat, always energetic, life of the party… always a good time."
Bart said he just saw Nunley at a party Friday night and didn't notice anything different about him.
Kevin Parsley got to know Nunley last year when the two spent time pledging the same fraternity.
"It's still hard for people to believe at this point and still a shock to everybody," he said, adding, "He was a very fun guy, he was never down, he was never angry or sad or anything. He was always the life of the party, hanging out and cheering people up. [He was] just a good guy to hang around."
Nunley eventually decided to join a different Greek house, but Parsley said the two remained close.
Parsley says they just saw each other over the weekend.
"I was shocked. He was at the football game Saturday, tailgating and hanging out with everybody and seemed fine [and] then I left and came back to town and that's the first thing I heard," Parsley continued.
Nunley went to a local emergency room Monday morning before being transported to Vanderbilt where he died.
The state health department will determine Nunley's official cause of death.
Anyone who had direct, close contact with Nunley from September 2 through September 10 should contact Student Health Services or another health care provider for an evaluation.
Direct, close contact means coming in touch with nose or throat discharges, which includes kissing, coughing, sneezing and sharing drinking glasses, eating utensils or cigarettes.
The symptoms of bacterial meningitis include a sudden onset of fever, headache and stiff neck in addition to nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light and an altered mental status.
"It's a rapidly evolving bacteria in the system that can make people sick very quickly," Dr. Eric Clark, Medical Director of MTSU Student Health, told Nashville's News 2.
Monday and Tuesday, health officials at the university clinic were giving students a single dose of a preventative antibiotic.
More than 400 doses had been given as of early Tuesday afternoon.
Vaccinations are also offered at most area health clinics.
The vaccinations takes several days to become active once it is administered.
Anyone who had direct contact with the bacteria is advised to take an antibiotic to kill the bacteria.
For more information, contact MTSU Student Health Services at 615-898-2988 or the Rutherford County Health Department at 615-898-7880.