New Delhi : Do you know why adults are often advised to avoid any physical contact – like kissing and cuddling – with babies and asked to wash their hands before touching them or picking them up?
A US couple’s heart-wrenching ordeal may be a lesson for those parents who readily allow people to hold their babies without ensuring that the person’s hands are well-sanitised or whether they are suffering from an infection.
Iowa’s Shane and Nicole Sifrit gave birth to a beautiful baby girl – Mariana – on July 1. A week later, on July 7, the couple got married with their newborn daughter in attendance.
However, the happy atmosphere soon became one of sorrow. Two hours after the vows were exchanged, Mariana was rushed to the hospital after the couple noticed that she had stopped eating and was slow to wake up.
On arrival, the doctors at Blank Children’s Hospital told the parents that Mariana had contracted a life-threatening herpes infection through a kiss – she was diagnosed with Meningitis HSV-1.
Over a period of 10 days, Mariana’s condition showed no improvement and worsened despite numerous blood transfusions. The doctors told the Sifrits that they were running out of options to save her life since her organs had started to give up.
On Tuesday, just after 8:40 am, Nicole announced in a heart-breaking post on her Facebook page that her 18-day-old baby girl had lost her battle against the virus.
Meningitis HSV-1 is a viral form of herpes which can cause encephalitis or swelling of the brain.
Both her parents tested negative for the virus, which meant she got it from someone else.
The Sifrit family are now hoping to raise awareness of how dangerous herpes can be for infants.
“Keep your babies isolated, don’t let just anyone come visit them, and make sure they are constantly washing their hands,” the Sifrits said.
“Don’t let people kiss your baby, and make sure they ask before they pick up your baby,” The Sun reported.
Herpes is a common infection caused by the herpes simplex virus, which causes painful blisters on the genitals and is passed on by sexual contact.
It is a chronic long-term condition, which has chances of becoming active again.