Jeff and Natasha were excited and joyous when they welcomed a baby girl named Mallory into their family.
But then, just three weeks into their new life together, she passed away – and when they found out why and how easily it could have been prevented, they knew they had to reach other new and expecting parents.
After taking some time to grieve and cope, Jeff made a post on Facebook discussing what happened to his precious baby girl.
It took him a month to be able to bring himself to write it, but he wanted to spread the word so that similar accidents would be prevented.
Jeff began by instructing that everyone handling a new baby should wash their hands extremely regularly. If someone was about to hold a baby even for a short while, they should thoroughly give their hands a good wash first.
Why? Because of herpes.
Contrary to popular belief, herpes isn’t some extremely rare STD that should be treated like a comedic or taboo subject.
As a matter of a fact, Herpes Simplex Virus-1, or HSV-1, is an extremely common virus and it is the reason behind cold sores and canker sores which many individuals develop in their mouths.
A huge 67% of people internationally are affected by HSV-1, according to estimates made by the World Health Organization.
On top of that, a large number of people infected with HSV-1 will never exhibit any symptoms and will therefore never realize that they have it.
When transmitted to newborns, this virus which so many adults have harmlessly can be fatal – and this is what happened to Mallory.
In the first week of her life, Mallory had a high fever, but it was difficult to diagnose her with anything serious because she hadn’t been openly exposed to anyone who looked visibly sick.
No one had kissed her on her mouth, and no one who handled her or was even in contact with her at all had been sporting a cold sore.
But Mallory often sucked her fingers and touched her eyes and mouth with her hands, so it’s believed that the virus was on her hands and transmitted into her body that way.
When blisters began to appear, that’s when doctors realized it was HSV-1, but the antivirals they administered then were applied too late to be of use.
For the next two weeks, Jeff and Natasha had to watch as Mallory’s condition deteriorated. It was heartbreaking for these new parents who had been looking forward to a new chapter in their lives with their beloved daughter.
This incident is a rare statistic in infant fatalities through the HSV-1 virus, but it is still important to be careful and keep your little ones safe.
Jeff’s Facebook post ended with a plea for others to be diligent about their hygiene and cleanliness when they are around newborn babies.
Given the fact that more than half the world’s population has HSV-1 virus and many have no symptoms, it’s better to be safe than sorry about transmitting this virus to a baby.