Can Kissing a Newborn Baby Really Be Deadly? Doctors Weigh In

Newborn baby contracts illness and dies, likely from a visitor's kiss
Deadly Kiss: Can a Baby Contract a Lethal Virus from a Cold Sore?

20 July, 2017

"If they aren't sick, then the baby won't get sick, but if they have a cold or other virus or bacteria, it can easily be spread by kissing". "You don't know if you're already incubating a disease, if you don't have symptoms yet".

Mariana Sifrit just 6 days old when her parents, Nicole and Shane Sifrit, noticed something terribly wrong. Nicole said, "Friday we noticed she stopped eating and wasn't waking up when we were trying to get her to respond". And doctors quickly discovered that little Mariana had contracted viral meningitis from herpes simplex virus type 1, or HSV-1, a strain of the herpes virus likely transmitted by the kiss of an adult with a cold sore.

"Avoid direct contact with baby if the visiting person or parent has a fever blister (cold sore = herpes) outbreak", Dr. Harvey M. Friedman, professor of medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote in an email to CBS News.

After a week in hospital, Mariana's condition deteriorated. By July 8, she was on life support and receiving blood transfusions.

The Sifrits say the best case scenario would be that Mariana is in the hospital another month before she's in the clear.

Mariana died on Tuesday, in her father's arms, aged just 18 days old.

Posner says that she tries to give people - kids especially - alternative places to kiss newborn babies, so they avoid the face. "She is now no longer suffering and is with the Lord".

Doctors suspected that the Mariana contracted the deadly illness from being kissed by someone with HSV-1, WQAD reported.

In 2014, Queensland infant, Eloise Pugh, died aged just 25 days old, also as a result of the common cold sore virus.

Mariana's parents tested negative for the virus.

And no matter what, the doctors recommend that any visitors coming in contact with newborn babies should wash their hands with either soap and water or hand sanitizer. "It was new family member, they were just so happy wanted to be close to them", she described.

Nicole's newborn baby soon began experiencing organ failure.

Meningitis, which refers to inflammation around the brain, can be caused by bacteria or by some viruses-including HSV1, the herpes virus.

About 1 of every 3,500 babies born in the United States, or less than 1 percent, contracts herpes simplex virus each year, according to the March of Dimes. What many parents may not know, however, is that something as simple as a kiss can be the start of a devastating infection that can even threaten their baby's life.

"Neonatal herpes is a uncommon infection, and the majority of cases are not spread to babies through kissing", she told INSIDER.

Babies younger than 1 month and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop severe illness when diagnosed with viral meningitis, according to the CDC, which advises parents to be particularly careful during the first months of a baby's life.

"I don't want parents to be paranoid, but it's something they need to know about", Ms Pugh told Essential Baby at the time.

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