Actors John Travolta and Kelly Preston say they are “heartbroken” over last week’s death of their teenage son, Jett Travolta, who was 16. Jett died Friday after a seizure while vacationing with his family in the Bahamas, an attorney for the family has said.
Jett was the most wonderful son that two parents could ever ask for and lit up the lives of everyone he encountered. We are heartbroken that our time with him was so brief. We will cherish the time we had with him for the rest of our lives. We have received many messages of condolence from around the world and we want to thank everyone for their prayers and support. It has meant so much to us. It is a beautiful reminder of the inherent goodness in the human spirit that gives us a hope for a brighter future.
John, Kelly and Ella
There has been some speculation concerning the cause of the seizure which led to the death of Jett.
In 2003 there were a series of advertisements taken out in major magazines featuring Kelly Preston. Kelly, a one time “clean freak” who was fanatical about having her carpets cleaned.
Until, the day when 15 month old Jett became very ill with a high fever and rash. When Kelly and John took Jett to the hospital they were told that Jett was diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease, a childhood immune system disease that causes the inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body and, if untreated, may affect the heart. Only about 15 out of 100,000 children under the age of five get the disease in the United States every year.
In a bit of irony, while at the hospital, Kelly was asked to fill out a questionnaire. One of the questions asked if the carpets in their home had been recently cleaned. “Until then, I thought that cleaning the carpets religiously was the healthy thing to do for my children,” says Kelly. In fact, Kelly had the carpets cleaned frequently–and just prior to Jett’s illness.
Is there a connection?
Scientists say they are not sure what causes Kawasaki Disease. However, a relationship between Kawasaki Disease and carpet cleaning was first reported in a case-control study published in 1982 in the medical journal, Lancet. Researchers investigating an outbreak in Denver found that 11 out of 23 of the children with Kawasaki Disease (48%) were living in homes where carpets had been shampooed within 30 days of the onset of symptoms; 10 of these children had played on the carpets two hours after they had been shampooed. In the control group (those who did not have the disease), only nine of 86 families (10%) had also shampooed carpets within 30 days.
Since the study was published, researchers have not been able to show a more conclusive link between carpet cleaners and Kawasaki Disease. A toxin-producing infectious agent–similar to those that cause Toxic Shock syndrome or scarlet fever–is considered a likely cause given the symptoms of the disease, according to many scientists. However, a bacterial or viral agent that might trigger the disease has not been identified.
For more information, see Are Carpet Cleaners Unsafe? To help reduce any risk from the possible link between carpet cleaning and Kawasaki Disease, CHEC recommends that children stay out of the house for at least four hours after carpets have been cleaned by any method.
Kawasaki Disease Foundation
Kawasaki Families’ Network
“Kawasaki Disease: A Brief History” in Pediatrics, Vol. 106, No. 2 (August 2000)
Kawasaki Syndrome — United States, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
It kind of makes you wonder….does Kelly have a point?
Should there be a government body looking into these things?