Cavanaugh's condition has improved greatly since he entered the hospital on Oct. 6, according to his family. Family members said today the prognosis is excellent for a full recovery.
Meantime, Health Services officials at Tennessee Tech have vaccinated some 85 students against the meningococcal disease since Wednesday. The university made the shots available to students at cost, which ran at $60 per injection.
"We will continue to order the vaccine as long as there's a demand for it," said Randy Tompkins, supervisor of TTU's Health Services. "And we'll continue to maintain a limited supply for several months."
Cavanaugh was hospitalized Oct. 6 after collapsing in his dormitory on campus and has been in guarded condition for more than a week. University officials acted promptly to take any necessary precautions with the medical community and regional Health Department, where staff members began contacting and providing preventive treatment to anybody in direct contact with Cavanaugh. They also began spreading the word across campus and throughout the region.
No other cases of the disease have been reported in the region, according to campus health professionals. In the past academic year, 83 cases were reported on U.S. college campuses, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. One student was hospitalized with the disease last week at Michigan State University.Meningitis is an inflammation of the brain's lining and the spinal cord, which can be caused by either virus or bacteria. Cavanaugh was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, and it has not been determined where he might have contracted the potentially fatal disease.