Their baby daughter died after contracting the herpes virus from a loved one's kiss or touch. Now her parents are passing along an important message.

By Hollee Actman Becker

This is not the first time we've heard a story like this, but that doesn't make it any less heartbreaking. An 18-day-old baby girl has died in Iowa, after contracting an illness that may have been caused by contact with someone who had herpes.

"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," her mom Nicole wrote in a gut-wrenching post on Facebook.

Our hearts go out to this little girl's family! Mariana was born healthy and was discharged on July 1, but was rushed back to the hospital less than a week later when her parents noticed she wasn't eating and wasn't responding when they tried to wake her. She was eventually diagnosed with meningitis caused by the herpes simplex virus, commonly known for causing cold sores.

RELATED: Meningitis Symptoms and Treatment

At the hospital, both Nicole and her husband Shane tested negative for the virus—meaning Mariana couldn't have contracted it from them—and their little girl was sent to the NICU.

"It immediately went downhill from there," Shane told NBC 13. "Within two hours she had quit breathing and all of her organs just started to fail."

Doctors believe the little girl caught the virus after a loved one with a cold sore either touched or kissed her. According to the Meningitis Research Foundation, many people carry the virus without knowing they have it, and they can transmit it even if they don't have any visible symptoms.

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"If you gather anything from it DON'T LET ANYONE kiss your baby," Nicole wrote. "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' lives."

A GoFundMe page had been set up to help the family.

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of two who writes about parenting and pop culture. Check out her website for more, and then follow her on Instagram.


Comments (1)

December 2, 2018
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