How This Common Virus Could Seriously Endanger Your Baby

As if there weren't already a million things to worry about when it comes to the health of your baby, you can now add another very common ailment to the list that can lead to very serious consequences for your little ones: cold sores. This mom's scary story about how the common virus threatened her baby may freak you out, but don't start locking up the house just yet. There are ways to prevent what happened to her newborn from potentially happening to yours.

According to The Bump, hours after Nicole and Shane Sifrit got married, they ended up leaving their own wedding early to bring their daughter, Mariana, to Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. Why? Because just a week after Mariana was born, her parents noticed sudden and unexpected symptoms, such as the fact that she had stopped eating, and wasn’t responding when they tried to wake her up. Those are obviously very scary signs of something going on in an infant, so the parents got her medical assistance very quickly.

The diagnosis wasn't good — Mariana was diagnosed with Meningitis HSV1. According to The Bump, it was "caused by a strain of the herpes virus that reportedly affects 67 percent of people globally." The baby ended up on life support before the parents could even say "honeymoon."

According to a report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015, more than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 are infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Poor Mariana likely contracted it from coming into close contact with someone who might not have even known that they had it. Most people, The Bump noted, don’t exhibit any symptoms.

Both Nicole and Shane, Mariania's parents, tested negative for the virus, and figuring out who did pass it on is nearly impossible. The virus is usually associated with cold sores, but you definitely don’t have to have a cold sore to pass it on.

When Nicole explained to local news outlet WHO TV how Mariana could have picked up the meningitis from the herpes strain, it sounded very simple. "They touch her and then she touches her mouth with her hand," she said. According to The Bump, a family member or friend could have also given the new baby a kiss, and that may have been all it took to pass it on. It's happened before.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says babies don’t have developed enough immune systems to fight off herpes until they're at least 6 months old, and it's clearly a critical topic if they had to release a guideline about the issue.

Although you can't protect your kids from everything, there are some things you can do to prevent your child from contacting something like the herpes strain that can lead to meningitis. First of all, don't let anyone kiss your newborn on the lips, and maybe limit their exposure from strangers you can't be sure are healthy, at least for the first few months. The New York State Department of Health also recommends that, in general, you should have everyone wash their hands before touching the newborn, just to be cautious.

In the case of little Mariana, her parents say she is still fighting, but unfortunately, her organs are failing. Her mom told The Bump:

She has a kidney team, a liver team, a blood team, a neurology team... I have to stay strong for her because she is still staying strong.

Hopefully, the baby girl pulls through. Her parents had no way of knowing she was going to pick up such a common virus, and get so seriously sick from it, but now, they want to warn other parents of the risks — before it's too late for another baby.