BOULDER, Colo. — A 7-week-old baby is fighting for her life after being diagnosed with whooping cough.
She is the most serious of three dozen cases diagnosed this year in Boulder in what health officials are calling a whooping cough outbreak.
Natalie Schultz was born a healthy baby, but at five weeks old her mother Danica, says she noticed Natalie started struggling to breath and had a severe cough.
“She would cough and cough and cough and then kind of wheeze in to breath,” said Danica Schultz, Natalie’s mother.
Doctors at Children’s Hospital diagnosed little Natalie with whooping cough. For nine days Natalie was hooked up to oxygen inside an incubator constantly being monitored at the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
“It was terrifying because we know that whooping cough can be fatal especially in such little babies. She was actually having such a hard time breathing, they had to help her breath and she stopped breathing a couple of times. So it was probably the worse thing I have ever went through,” Schulz said.
Natalie is actually one of 37 cases of whooping cough in Boulder County this year. Thirty of those cases are children who are under the age of 18. Health officials are calling it an outbreak.
There were some folks who were not vaccinated or were not up to date in their vaccinations,” said Sophia Yager a nurse at Boulder County Public Health.
Health officials said this disease can be prevented by just getting a Pertussis vaccination.
“This is an opportunity right here to say people should be vaccinated and it’s a reminder that these are the sorts of things that occur when we don’t,” Yager said.
“I almost lost my daughter at almost six weeks old so, you know, like that could have been prevented if everyone was vaccinated,” said Schultz.
Natalie is now back home with her family and still has several weeks of recovery.
In the meantime, Boulder Valley School District is working with health officials to get the word out about the outbreak. They sent emails and letters home to parents notifying them about the outbreak.