A grieving mother in Iowa has a stern warning for other mothers and moms-to-be: “Don’t let people kiss your baby.” Nicole Sifrit issued the strong plea when her newborn infant died less than a week after contracting viral meningitis. A new report claims that the deadly disease is linked to the herpes virus from a person who kissed the child.
Nicole and Shane Sifrit had two reasons to celebrate recently. On July 1, the Iowa couple delivered their baby girl, Mariana, and on July 7, the doting parents exchanged marital vows. Sadly, 11 days later, their newborn girl was dead, according to CNN‘s reporting.
Doctors said the infant died from herpes meningitis, a rare condition that evolves from HSV-1, the same disease that causes cold sores. According to STDcheck, the condition is usually contracted through sexual contact, exchange of bodily fluids or from the mother during delivery.
However, the dead child’s parents tested negative for the virus which led them to believe someone — perhaps, a friend or relative — transmitted the herpes meningitis infection by kissing the infant shortly after her birth, as Mrs. Sifrit explained.
“They touched her, and then she touched her mouth with her hand. 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.”
— CNN Health (@cnnhealth) July 18, 2017
In some circumstances, the herpes infection leads to viral herpes meningitis and involves swelling of the spinal cord and brain. This is a medical emergency. One of the symptoms, among many, is a noticeable loss of appetite.
Shane and Nicole noticed that their daughter wasn’t eating as expected. They took her to nearby Blank Children’s Hospital where physicians ran a battery of tests and discovered the presence of meningitis HSV-1 in the infant’s system.
Over a span of only two hours, Mariana began experiencing organ failure and respiratory problems. Doctors airlifted the infant to the University of Iowa Hospital for advanced care to stop the progression of herpes meningitis.
Unfortunately, the infant girl’s condition deteriorated despite numerous blood transfusions and specialty intervention. Nicole kept the public informed on Facebook.
On Sunday, she shared a grim prognosis, stating that unless her baby responds to treatment, her liver would likely fail. The next day, Mariana’s condition slumped further and her mom posted a sobering message on her Facebook account.
“My heart is crushed, my baby is declining fast! She has no brain activity and her lungs and heart are failing along with her kidneys and liver. They are running out of options for her.”
“I am still holding onto Faith and Hope! I have to, even though they are running out of options [sic] that is my only option I have.”
The next day, the infant died from the viral meningitis disease. Doctors informed the grieving mother and father that, if the infant had survived, she would have suffered widespread organ problems, which stemmed from the swelling of her brain and spinal cord.
"Don't let people kiss your baby. And make sure they ask before they pick up your baby." https://t.co/SZkP39mndn
— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) July 18, 2017
Although the couple is mourning the loss of their infant girl, they both feel compelled to spread awareness about the disease. They advise parents to keep their children away from anyone who is a known carrier of the herpes simplex. Moreover, anyone coming into contact with a newborn should have clean hygiene.
“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.”
The Iowa parents and several siblings survive the infant. A GoFundMe page is active to help the family meet expenses and accumulated medical bills.
[Featured Image by SLP_Holden/Shutterstock]