The grieving family of a 4-month-old Virginia boy who died just one day after showing symptoms of meningitis is speaking out about vaccines after doctors reportedly told them that he was likely infected by an unvaccinated individual.
Killy Schultz, who died June 30, allegedly developed a rash and broke a fever after his mom picked him up from daycare.
“He had just eaten his bottle for the afternoon,” Alex Dempsey, the boy’s mother, told WTVR. “He was a little warm but we figured it was a warm day so get him home and let him cool off.”
Dempsey, who is engaged to her son’s father, Gabriel Shultz, said that her son had received his 4-month vaccinations two days prior. When his condition failed to improve with Tylenol, Dempsey and Shultz took their son to the emergency room. Tests results reportedly pointed to meningitis.
Bacterial meningitis can be serious and cause death in as little as a few hours, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those who recover may suffer permanent disabilities including brain damage, hearing loss and learning disabilities. Babies are at an increased risk for infection and typical symptoms may be difficult to spot.
The CDC recommends adults and children receive vaccinations against three types of bacteria that can cause meningitis.
“The moment they said meningitis I knew there was a really strong possibility that we were going to lose him,” the first-time mom told WTVR. “They told us we were going to hit the window if he was going to make it or not but being he was only 4-months-old he didn’t really have an immune system to help us with that.”
The state’s department of health is reportedly investigating, and Dempsey said that anyone who came in contact with her son was instructed to take antibiotics, including her son’s daycare. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family pay for funeral costs.
“If anything comes out of this we want people to be aware that vaccinations can prevent things like this,” Dempsey told the news outlet. “Vaccines aren’t just for kids they’re for adults too. He was just a baby, so he really didn’t have much of a chance.”
Dempsey, who said that her son was swollen and unrecognizable, said on Facebook that her family has been attacked since sharing their tragedy.
“So, this will be my last post on this profile for a little while,” Dempsey posted on Thursday. “With all the coverage and harassment we have received, there has yet to have time to properly grieve.”