Brentwood mom says meningitis vaccine should be required - WKRN News 2

Brentwood mom says meningitis vaccine should be required

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Caitlin Brison contracted Neisseria Meningitidis, the deadliest form of bacterial meningitis, during her freshman year at MTSU. Caitlin Brison contracted Neisseria Meningitidis, the deadliest form of bacterial meningitis, during her freshman year at MTSU.
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. -

The sudden death of Middle Tennessee State University freshman Jacob Nunley brings back memories that are hard to bear for a Brentwood mother who nearly lost her daughter to bacterial meningitis four years ago.

In the spring of 2008, Chris Brison had to sit at her daughter's bedside not knowing whether she was going to live or die.

Brison's daughter, Caitlin, had contracted Neisseria Meningitidis, the deadliest form of bacterial meningitis, during her freshman year at MTSU.

"She didn't have any of the typical symptoms of meningitis.  She started out vomiting, had a high temperature and by the time she went to bed that night, she had purple spots all over her body," Brison recalled.

Brison, a nurse, rushed her then 18-year-old daughter to the hospital. By the second day, doctors did not think Caitlin would live through the night.

"I had to ask her to live for me and she promised she would," Brison continued.

Caitlin spent three weeks in the hospital on heavy antibiotics and dialysis.

Although she lived, Brison says her daughter's life has been changed forever because of bacterial meningitis.

Caitlin was discharged, unable to walk and spent a year in physical therapy learning how to do so again.

The now 23-year-old suffers from short-term memory loss, chronic anemia, parathyroidism, decreased kidney function and takes numerous medications each day.

Caitlin has been told she will need a kidney transplant in the future and will likely never be able to have children.

Brison says her daughter's health problems could have all been avoided with a simple shot.

Her daughter did not get a meningitis vaccine when she started college because MTSU didn't require it.

"I feel like if they had required it, she would have gotten the immunization when the doctor offered it and she may not be going through this right now," Brison said.
 
The mother has made it her personal mission to tell others about the potentially life-saving shot, but is saddened that the message did not reach Jacob Nunley in time.

The 18-year-old freshman from Dyersburg died Monday morning, likely from the same rare form of bacterial meningitis Caitlin had.

"It's like living the experience all over again," Brison told Nashville's News 2.

Nunley became so sick he went to a local emergency room and was transported to Vanderbilt Medical Center where he died just two hours later.

Brison would like to see all universities require the vaccine for attendance.

Her daughter, Caitlin, is still enrolled at MTSU and is currently studying abroad in France.

"She realizes how lucky she is that she lived," Brison said.

To learn more about the meningitis vaccine, visit Meningitis-Angels.org.

Read more about the illness at CDC.gov.

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