Nicole and Shane Sifrit had just one happy week with their baby girl Mariana, who was born healthy on July 1. On July 7, when she stopped eating and then became unresponsive, she went back to the hospital. And on Tuesday morning, she died. Mariana had contracted viral meningitis caused by the herpes virus, and her parents are warning others that it may have been a simple kiss that doomed her, CNN reports. The virus can be transmitted by someone who has the cold sore version of the illness, even if they don't have an open sore, and could also have been transmitted through other types of close contact. "They touch her, and then she touches her mouth with her hand," Nicole Sifrit explained to WHO before her daughter died. Both parents tested negative for the herpes virus, meaning Mariana likely contracted it from a visitor.
After taking Mariana to the hospital, "within two hours, she had quit breathing, and all her organs just started to fail," Nicole says. Her condition continued to deteriorate; her lungs, liver, and heart began failing, she started suffering seizures, and had to go on kidney dialysis, USA Today reports. She died in her father's arms with her mother by her side, Nicole wrote on Facebook Tuesday. A pediatrician tells CNN that while contracting the herpes virus is "very common," it's rare for the virus to develop into meningitis. Still, Nicole advises other new parents: "Keep your babies isolated. Don't let just anyone come visit them. Make sure they are constantly washing their hands. Don't let people kiss your baby and make sure they ask before they pick up your baby." A GoFundMe campaign has been set up for the family. (Another newborn nearly suffered the same fate.)