An Iowa couple is reeling over the loss of their 18 day-old baby who died after contracting a deadly virus believed to be from a simple kiss.
The newlyweds, Nicole and Shane Sifrit, welcomed baby Mariana on July 1. Just one week later — two hours after the couple’s wedding — the young parents noticed that their baby girl was lethargic and not eating well.
In an interview with CNN affiliate WHO, the baby’s mother Nicole recalls, “within two hours, she had quit breathing, and all her organs just started to fail.”
According to WHO, the couple left their wedding early to take Mariana to Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, where they learned that she had contracted meningitis HSV-1, caused by the herpes virus — the same virus that causes cold sores.
Herpes meningitis can be caused by bacteria, fungi or other types of germs, and it can be spread through sexual contact or from a woman to her baby during childbirth, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Mariana’s parents both tested negative for the virus, they said, suggesting that it could have come from others who visited the child.
“They touch her, and then she touches her mouth with her hand,” Sifrit explained. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how Mariana caught the virus, but she wants people to know that it’s important that people are cautious when they let anyone handle their babies.
Nicole Sifrit says Mariana “isn’t getting better, but she’s not getting worse.”
According to Dr. Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician at Calabasas Pediatrics in California, “viral meningitis is transmitted through close casual contact.” However, she caught the virus and then developed meningitis. … It is very common to catch the virus, but very rarely does it develop into meningitis. “The first two months after a child is born are very critical, as a virus can rapidly spread and cause serious illness in newborns,” she said. This is why parents are advised to be particularly careful during those first months.
Sifrit told CNN that Mariana was airlifted to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital in Iowa City on July 10 when her condition deteriorated. In a statement Sunday afternoon, the young mother said doctors were trying to keep the baby stable, and fluctuating her dialysis to drain fluid from her body.
Monday, Nicole posted a heartbreaking update.
“My heart is crushed, my baby is declining fast,” Nicole wrote. “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.”
Tuesday morning, Nicole said Mariana died.
“Our princess Mariana Reese Sifrit gained her angel wings at 8:41 am this morning in her daddy’s arms and her mommy right beside her,” Nicole wrote.
Nicole is warning other parents to keep visitors away. She doesn’t want other babies to suffer the same fate as Mariana.
“Don’t let anyone kiss your baby,” she said.
If you found this article helpful, please share with friends and family by clicking the button below.