An 18-day-old baby in Iowa died this week after getting a meningitis infection. Doctors believe this was caused by a simple kiss… from someone with the herpes virus.
Shane and Nicole Sifrit were just starting to celebrate the birth of their new child, when at 6-days-old, the baby girl became very ill. Mariana, the baby, was rushed to the emergency room.
Doctors kept treating her for 12 days – but the baby lost her fight with the infection.
The Daily Mail reports:
On Monday, Nicole Sifrit said her baby’s doctors at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines were running out of options to save her life, and just after 8.40am on Tuesday, Mariana lost her fight against the virus and passed away in her father’s arms.
‘She is now no longer suffering and is with the Lord,’ Nicole wrote in a Facebook post. ‘In her 18 days of life she made a huge impact on the world and we hope with Mariana’s Story we save numerous newborns life. R.I.P. sweet angel’
The couple told the station WQAD that Mariana had become infected with meningitis HSV-1, which is caused by the herpes virus, also responsible for cold sores.
According to the Johns Hopkins Health Library, herpes meningitis can be caused by bacteria, and it can be transmitted by sexual contact or passed from an infected mother to the baby during childbirth.
In Mariana’s case, however, both of her parents tested negative for the virus, raising the possibility that their daughter had caught the life-threatening illness from someone carrying herpes, but not necessarily showing symptoms, who had visited the family in the days after her birth and kissed her.
‘They touched her, and then she touched her mouth with her hand,’ Mrs Sifrit explained. ‘It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how she caught the virus, but it’s important people are cautious when they let anyone handle their babies.’
Nicole, who also has an older daughter and two sons, delivered baby Mariana on July 1. On July 7, she and Shane got married.
But their wedding festivities had to be cut short after the newlyweds noticed that Mariana stopped eating and was slow to wake up.
The Sifrits left their reception and took the baby to Blank Children’s Hospital to have her checked out. There, doctors made the devastating diagnosis of meningitis HSV-1.
When they got to the hospital, doctors had realized what happened to the little girl.
The serious meningitis infection had caused the baby’s organs to fail. After half a dozen blood transfusions, the child’s kidneys stopped working. The baby had to be put on dialysis.
Nicole and Shane, despite being devastated, are still warning other parents. “Don’t let just anyone come visit them. Make sure they are constantly washing their hands. Don’t let people kiss your baby and make sure they ask before they pick up your baby.”