Toddler killed by rare case of meningitis

Posted at 8:19 PM, Dec 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-21 21:19:07-05

WAUWATOSA -- Just days ago a healthy three year old had one thing on his mind.

"He was excited about presents. Every commercial on TV he wanted something," said Lori Sorenson, Kellan's grandmother. 

Christmas won't be the same this year for the Sorenson family, after a rare case of meningitis ended Kellan's short life. 

"Kellan was a little spitfire. We called him sassy pants," explained Sorenson. 

Kellan's grandmother runs a daycare out of her Wauwatosa home where she spent Wednesday with her grandson.

"Why would this happen to him?  Because he was healthy.  There was nothing wrong with Kellan Wednesday when he left here."

Thursday the three year old spiked a 103 temperature, then started to vomit and have seizures. 

"This went so fast. I don't think anybody had time to wrap themselves around it and get an idea as to the size of what was happening.  We all thought ok, he's got a bug and he'll be fine, but that didn't happen."

Kellan died Saturday at the hospital from bacterial meningitis.

"Bacterial meningitis is a serious infection that children get when they get bacterial organisms in their blood and then it lands in their spinal fluid on top of their brain, which then causes infection of the brain itself," explained Dr. Michael Chusid, Cheif of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. 

Dr. Chusid says meningitis is rare in the United States since children are usually vaccinated for this type of infection.  The Cheif of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin isn't speaking about Kellan's situation, but does say in general an infection like this might occur if for some reason the vaccine didn't take, but says it's rare.  He adds it could be contracted through the environment, possibly another child. 

Kellan's family says Kellan was up to date on all his shots.  They say their doctor said not too worry about catching the bacteria and that's why they're not on any special medication.  The children at Sorenson's daycare reached out to their doctors who said they too don't need to worry about their children catching bacterial meningitis. 

"If there was a child in a community it's not going to be contagious in the community of children. For instance, daycare or school because the vast majority of kids are now well immunized and therefore not susceptible to that infection," explained Dr. Chusid. 

Even after one of the worst weeks of their lives, the Sorenson's say they have a reason to have hope this Christmas.  

"It's been devastating, but then there's always a good reason.  Right now we can't see it, but we know that at least with the organs the organ donation that something good is going to come out of what happened to Kellan," said Sorenson. 

Kellan leaves behind a 5 year old brother. 

If you want to help Kellan's parents with medical expenses and funeral costs, visit their GoFundMe page here.