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Mother warns other parents after her newborn baby dies of meningitis following simple kiss

Eighteen-day-old Mariana Reese Sifrit passed away after contracting Meningitis HSV-1

Beth Timmins
Wednesday 19 July 2017 12:42 BST

Couple Nicole and Shane Sifrit warn not to let people kiss your baby after their newborn baby Mariana has died of herpes.

Eighteen-day-old Mariana Reese Sifrit passed away after contracting Meningitis HSV-1, according to the couple.

Mother Nicole Sifrit wrote on Facebook: "She is now no longer suffering and is with the Lord. Thank you to everyone who has followed her journey and supported us through this.”

“In her 18 days of life she made a huge impact on the world and we hope with Mariana's Story we save numerous newborns life. R.I.P. sweet angel,” Nicole added.

The couple, from West Des Moines, Iowa, US, married six days after baby Mariana was born. Within just two hours of the ceremony, Mariana had stopped eating and would not wake up, the couple told

"She had quit breathing, and all her organs just started to fail," Nicole Sifrit told

HSV-1 is the virus that causes cold sores and rarely leads to viral meningitis, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Carriers can transmit the virus despite not having an open sore. “It is very common to catch the virus, but very rarely does it develop into meningitis," Dr. Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician at Calabasas Paediatrics in California told CNN.

"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 added.

According to the CDC, early symptoms of the virus include sleepiness, nausea, fever, lack of appetites and headaches. Babies younger that one month and those with weaker immune systems are more susceptible to the illness.

Nicole told "Don't let people kiss your baby and make sure they ask before they pick up your baby."

The couple have warned fellow parents on social media posting statuses with the hashtag #thefightformariana.

Meningitis and encephalitis can also be caused by bacteria, fungi or other types of germs, according to the healthcare organisation John Hopkins Medicine.

Dr Amaran Moodley, a paediatric disease specialist at Blank Children's Hospital where Mariana was treated said: "My impression is there's some anxiety mothers feel, and I'd like to lessen that anxiety by giving facts about how babies get this infection." Dr Moodley told The Des Moines Register newspaper that over half the general public have the virus and by nine-months old, most children are "OK if they contract it."

Dr Moodley said that around 10 of the 40,000 babies born annually in Iowa will contract the virus and that new parents shouldn't be overly alarmed: "If you have a cold sore, that is a risk, but mostly avoid direct contact."

"I want to ease people's concerns about not kissing your baby," he added.

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