Over the weekend, a couple in Britain lost their baby aged 14 days old to herpes simplex virus, a few days after a well-wisher kissed her. The heartbroken couple, Kelly Ineson and fiancé Thomas Cummins said their daughter, Kara was taken to hospital at just 10 days old by her concerned parents after falling ill.
Kelly said they were always careful not letting anyone near their baby if they seemed dirty or hadn’t washed their hands.“I never in my worst nightmares imagined a kiss could kill my baby, and I don’t want any other parents to go through this,” she said to Daily Star, a British newspaper.
Neonatal herpes is when a newborn is infected with the herpes virus. It’s caused by the same strain of herpes that triggers cold sores and genital ulcers in adults.
It can be extremely serious for a young baby, whose immune system won’t have fully developed to fight off the virus. While it’s rare, it’s important all parents are aware of the dangers.
Herpes can be passed on during birth, if mum has genital herpes for the first time within six weeks of her pregnancy, After birth, a baby can become infected if a person with a cold sore kisses them or if mum breastfeeds with herpes sores on her breasts.
The warning signs to watch for in your baby are if they are lacking energy and being more sleepy than usual, stop feeding, have a high temperature, have a high-pitched cry, have breathing difficulties or start breathing rapidly.
It’s important to get your baby checked if you suspect they’ve caught or been exposed to herpes because it can develop quickly and spread to their brain or other parts of the body, proving fatal.
Doctors told the new parents that their baby had contracted a strain of the highly contagious herpes simplex virus, which causes cold sores in adults. Kara was placed in an induced coma but doctors advised she would still probably be brain damaged from the illness.
The parents are now advising other parents not tolet other people kiss their babies. “Someone might have cold sores that are so mild they haven’t noticed them, yet that mild infection could be transferred to a new baby.”