The parents of a newborn baby girl who died just over a week after her birth after contracting herpes virus in May 2018 have come forward to warn others about the potential dangers of allowing family and friends to touch and kiss infants. 19-year-old Abigail Rose of Maryland lost her daughter Aliza Rose just eight days after she was born. The mother says that the infant likely contracted the deadly virus through a kiss from an infected person.
In an emotionally charged post on Facebook, she said she was never going to stop sharing the "gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, soul-shattering story" on social media.
Rose said that her daughter was healthy for the first 36 hours of her life before she developed a fever, became lethargic, and lost all interest in food.
As the disease progressed, it left the infant struggling to breathe and suffering regular seizures. "She was 8 days old when she passed away," she wrote. "She was born a happy, healthy, almost 9lb baby. She was healthy for a day and a half before the HSV-1 virus attached to her spine and ate her lungs and brain."
Doctors had initially expressed hope to Rose and her partner, 26-year-old Tyler Hensley, that Aliza would survive the ordeal. However, the infant would not make it and was declared brain dead on May 20. Medics subsequently took her off her life-support.
They then informed Rose that her daughter had likely caught the infection — which manifests itself in the form of a cold sore — after being kissed by someone with the virus or after being touched by unwashed, contaminated hands. However, the true source of the infection would be near impossible to decipher.
The New York State Department of Health reported that one of every four US adults over 18 has been exposed to herpes, with most not aware that they've been infected. There are two types of herpes, HSV-1, and HSV-2, with the former causing infections on the mouth such as "cold sores" or "fever blisters" on the lips. The disease can spread from someone who doesn't show any sores or symptoms. In newborns, it can lead to severe infections and even death because of their undeveloped immune systems.
Rose speculated that "someone touched her without washing their hands or kissed her face while being a carrier of the virus." She continued, "And anyone can be a carrier and not show signs! It’s fatal until at least two weeks old and parents can pass it on to them as well! Please help us save more babies lives by sharing our story and NOT kissing babies. WASH YOE HANDS. DO NOT KISS THE BABIES."
Speaking to the Daily Mail, she said, "I didn't even know it was possible for babies to get this until it had already happened. The illness is so rare that as a new mum you don't hear about it, and yet it's such a common virus. No one seems to know that babies can die from this."
"It attaches to their spine and causes fluid to build up around their lungs and around their brain and it essentially just eats away at the inside of their bodies until they go brain dead," she continued. "There's no cure. It's fatal to infants that are two weeks old or younger, and if they do manage to survive they need 24 hour round the clock care for the rest of their lives."