Local News

UNC Student Recovering From Meningitis Speaks Out

Posted November 12, 2004 7:19 a.m. EST

— A freshman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who survived meningitis breaks his silence.

Jonathan Davis, 18, spent two weeks at UNC Hospitals battling the disease that touched off a public health alert. Davis and his family spoke exclusively with WRAL about their ordeal.

"I woke up one day and my eyes were poofy and my head hurt," Davis said.

Davis survived a severe case of type B meningococcal meningitis -- the one strain of meningitis that the vaccine he received last April could not fight off.

"I felt so bad" Davis said."I never felt that bad in my life. My legs hurt. They told me I was breaking out in a rash all over me."

Within three days of spending the weekend at North Carolina State University with friends, Davis was admitted to UNC Hospitals suffering from meningococcal meningitis. His diagnosis touched off a health alert at two Triangle universities.

More than 2,000 students at N.C. State and UNC-Chapel Hill who may have come in contact with Davis were given a preventative antibiotic. No new cases were reported.

For parents Parker and Helen Davis, the last two weeks were almost unbearable.

"I couldn't stop shaking. I couldn't stop crying," Helen Davis said.

"I couldn't believe that was my son lying there in so much pain. He was hurting so bad," Parker Davis said.

Jonathan is the oldest of four sons. His parents call his surviving meningitis a miracle.

Doctors had prepared them for the worst.

"I was just helpless," Parker Davis said. "It says in the scripture not to give up and God sure proved himself the last two weeks."

The Davises credit their son's medical care and the power of prayer.

"The Lord just helped the doctors make the decisions. They saved our child," Helen Davis said.

Davis still has several months of recovery and had to drop out of school for the rest of the year.

Doctors assure him he will be able to return to school in the fall.