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Baby dies from viral meningitis likely contracted from kiss

Mariana Sifrit contracted viral meningitis caused by HSV-1 when she was less than a week old.
WHO

An Iowa baby has died 10 days after she was hospitalized with an unexpected illness that may have been caused by contact with someone who had a cold sore.

Mariana Sifrit contracted viral meningitis caused by HSV-1 when she was less than a week old.

It is believed that baby Mariana contracted the deadly virus from a kiss. Mariana's parents, Nicole and Shane Sifrit, both tested negative for the virus, they told CNN affiliate WHO.

Just 18 days old when she died, Mariana had spent her last week at the University of Iowa Children's Hospital in Iowa City, suffering from severe medical complications.

"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 mother, Nicole Sifrit, posted on her Facebook page. "She is now no longer suffering and is with the Lord."

A week after Mariana's July 1 birth, her parents married. Within two hours of the ceremony, though, the newlyweds noticed that their newborn was not eating and would not wake up, they told WHO.

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

The newlyweds rushed Mariana to Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa, where they learned that she had contracted meningitis HSV-1, which can be carried by someone with the virus even if they do not have an open sore.

Her mother told WHO she could not pinpoint exactly how Mariana caught the virus.

Babies younger than 1 month and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop severe illness when diagnosed with viral meningitis, according to the CDC, which advises parents to be particularly careful during the first months of a baby's life.