Doctors warn of dangers after Iowa newborn dies from a kiss

Syracuse, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - Every parents worst nightmare became a reality for a grieving Iowa couple.

The Sifrit family brought their baby girl Mariana in to the world on July 1st, less than a month later they were laying her to rest. Doctors told the family it was a simple kiss that turned in to a deadly virus.

When she was born on July 1, Mariana was healthy but just one week later she was showing symptoms of the deadly virus.

"Overall since they don't have preexisting protection or immunity in their body, the virus spreads broadly and that's why meningitis in this light is a curse," explains Dr. Waleed Javaid, Medical Director of Infection Control at Crouse Hospital.

Iowa doctors told the Sifrit's Mariana was infected with viral meningitis caused by herpes. It's an illness likely coming after a simple kiss from a doting family member.

It's something doctors in Syracuse want parent to be aware of.

"Babies are very vulnerable when they're born and their first line of defense against anything in the world really is their parents. I think protection really starts from being engaged," says Javaid.

Doctors say nothing is guaranteed when it comes to keeping a newborn healthy but one thing that can help is washing your hands or at the very least, using hand sanitizer to get rid of any germs before holding the baby.

"Everybody has to pitch in. Healthcare providers, parents, anybody who's involved in the baby's care really needs to be protective of the baby. Hand washing, again has been historically, and still is the most important thing that we can do to protect our babies. From this, and a lot of other illnesses as well," Javaid said.

On her Facebook page, Mariana's mom Nicole posted that her daughter made a  "huge impact on the world."

She is hoping her story will save the lives of other newborns.

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