An 18-day-old baby died Tuesday after her parents believe she contracted the herpes virus from a kiss.
Mariana Sifrit developed meningitis caused by HSV-1, the same virus that causes cold sores, despite both of her parents testing negative for the virus.
Mariana, who was born healthy on July 1, started showing signs that something was wrong just a week after she was born on her parent’s wedding day.
“We noticed she was having a hard time waking up and not eating or acting like herself and had a rapid pace of breathing,” Mariana’s mother, Nicole Sifrit told InsideEdition.com.
Mariana’s parents decided to take her to the ER at Methodist Medical Center. Doctors admitted the newborn to the NICU and while there, Sifrit said she stopped breathing twice.
The parents said they are not sure how Mariana contracted the virus, whether it was from family and friends celebrating her arrival or the hospital where she was born.
HSV-1 is mainly contracted from oral-to-oral contact.
“The entire process was an emotional roller coaster," Sifrit said of her daughter’s battle. "She had some good days and other days were down right horrific. Watching your baby fight for their life and being so helpless is traumatic."
Sifrit, who has three other children, is now warning other parents to protect their children.
“We want to save other new parents from having to go through the heartbreak we are living," she said. "Be cautious on who comes to visit, holds, or touches your newborn. Most importantly, don’t let anyone kiss your baby."
HSV-1 rarely leads to herpes meningitis, but newborn babies often do not have strong enough immune system to fight the virus off, making it deadly, according to reports.
“You hear about these stories and don't even think twice about it happening to you or your family,” Sifrit added.