UPDATE: On Tuesday morning, Nicole Sifrit confirmed on Facebook that her baby died after contracting meningitis from a kiss.
"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," she wrote. "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."
Read on for our original story.
We know it can be irresistible — but you really should be thinking twice before touching or kissing an adorable baby, no matter how close you are to the parents. An Iowa mom is issuing a warning to others to be more careful because her newborn died after contracting meningitis, likely from a kiss from someone else who carried the virus.
Nicole Sifrit told CNN affiliate WQAD that after she and her husband took their week-old daughter to their wedding, they noticed that Mariana soon stopped eating and wouldn't wake up.
"Within two hours she had quit breathing and all of her organs just started to fail," Sifrit told WQAD.
They left the wedding early to take Mariana to a children's hospital, where they learned that she had contracted meningitis HSV-1 — a virus that can be caused by herpes.
Doctors told the Sifrits that Mariana likely contracted it by being kissed by someone who had a cold sore, though the person may not have had an open sore visible.
"They touch her, and then she touches her mouth with her hand," Sifrits explained to WQAD.
About 70% of all adults in the U.S. have the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), the type that is most often associated with oral cold sore outbreaks. Though it's rare, babies can contract the virus from coming into contact with someone who has cold sores. While these outbreaks aren't so dangerous for adults, the consequences can be severe for babies whose immune systems have yet to develop. For them, the virus can even spread to the liver, lungs, and brain.
So the next time you want to give your friend's baby a cuddle, you may want to think twice — the baby's parent might feel pressured to let you do it, but remember that it may be unsanitary, and even lead to health problems for the child. Cases like these are rare, but you should still always ask for permission before touching anyone's baby.
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