An Iowa couple is urging new parents to use caution after their 3-week-old daughter died from a viral disease, likely passed on to her through someone’s kiss.
Nicole and Shane Sifrit welcomed their baby girl, Mariana, on July 1, just a week ahead of their wedding. But just two hours after the couple traded vows their infant had “quit breathing, and all her organs just started to fail,” Nicole told WHO.
They left the ceremony early and rushed to Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, where they learned Mariana contracted meningitis HSV-1, caused by the herpes virus, also responsible for cold sores.
Nicole Sifrit on Tuesday announced Mariana had “gained her angels wings at 8:41 a.m. this morning in her daddy’s arms and her mommy right beside her.”
Both of Mariana’s parents, who each tested negative for the virus, said it's likely the disease came from someone who visited the child.
“They touched her, and then she touched her mouth with her hand,” Nicole Sifrit told the news station. “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.”
Mariana was eventually transferred to University of Iowa hospital on July 10 where teams worked to stop the herpes infection.
Pediatrician Dr. Tanya Altmann told CNN that “viral meningitis is transmitted through close causal contact.” She added it’s not so rare for a newborn to come in contact with the virus but not typical that it develops into meningitis.
Nicole Sifrit has repeatedly warned new parents about the risk in wake of the tragedy.
“Don’t let just anyone come visit them,” she told WHO. “Make sure they are constantly washing their hands.”
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