8-year-old Missouri boy dies suddenly and mysteriously with symptoms that match West Nile Virus

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- A Missouri family is in shock after their 8-year-old son died mysteriously on Tuesday.

Dennis Burd got sick last weekend and his parents thought it was the flu.

The Burds took him to the emergency room after his condition worsened, but he was pronounced dead just two hours later. Preliminary autopsy findings show that the 8-year-old may have been sick with West Nile Virus.

The boy was active and healthy, and loved playing outside with his dad but that all stopped when he started feeling very sick last weekend.

"We did like everyone else would do, give him Tylenol and keep his temperature down," Larry Burd told our sister station FOX 4.

But on Tuesday, Dennis started having breathing problems and was complaining of back pain, to the point he could no longer walk. His parents rushed him to the ER.

"That's where we lost him," the dad said. Within two hours, Dennis was pronounced dead.

Dennis' parents got a call from the medical examiner the next day saying the boy had pneumonia in both lungs and symptoms that match up with West Nile.  Doctors told the family their son could've caught the virus from a mosquito while playing outside, but it will take more testing to know for sure.

"Who would even think about that? Just go play in the backyard and end up with something like that," Burd said.

He wishes he could've protected his son, and warns parents to be diligent.

"Keep an eye on your kids. Even if they don't show signs of anything, take them to the doctor. Get them checked out," he said.

The medical examiner sent Dennis' information to the Centers for Disease Control. His parents say it could be another six months before they know for sure what happened to their little boy.

You can help the Burd family through this GoFundMe account.