Lancen Kendall was a healthy, happy 5-month-old boy when his parents put him down for a nap in their Phoenix, Arizona, home. He never woke up. Doctors initially attributed the death to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but later found Lancen had been infected with enterovirus.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is testing to see if Lancen was infected with the EV-D68 strain of enterovirus, which has infected nearly 700 people and killed two children in the U.S. this year. State health officials in Arizona told 3TV that Lancen is one of 24 recent enterovirus cases statewide.
Although Lancen appeared healthy before he died, enterovirus often has cold and flu-like symptoms and causes severe respiratory issues, which makes it difficult for infants and children to breathe. Children are most at risk for catching the virus, with those under the age of five who have asthma or other respiratory problems are at a higher risk for serious complications.
Lancen’s father, Kevin Kendall, found his son blue and unresponsive in his crib.
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“I checked on him halfway through his nap. For him not to be breathing an hour and a half later, it's a terrifying ordeal,” he told Fox10 reporters. “It was a very scary moment.”
Lancen was rushed to Banner Thunderbird Medical Center, where he was pronounced brain dead and passed away five days later.
"The lack of warning is the scariest part to me. We didn't know he was sick," he told 3TV.
"It's kind of terrifying that it literally came out of nowhere," said his mother, Kathleen Kendall.
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Prior to this incident, the Kendall family wasn’t even aware of the enterovirus but Kathleen told 3TV that she hoped the tragic death of her son would help inform other parents about the dangers of enterovirus. “If there’s nothing else we can do, let [people] be aware that it’s out there and it’s happening.”
Image via 3TV