Nicole and Shane Sifrit suffered an unimaginable loss, and they’re speaking out to try to raise awareness and warn other parents after their newborn died from what may have been just a random kiss.

Their newborn daughter, Mariana, was born on July 1 and was perfectly healthy when she left the hospital. Six days later, though, something was wrong. The baby wasn’t eating, and she slept so heavily they couldn’t wake her.

Meningitis diagnosis.

When her breathing started to change, they rushed her to the emergency room. According to Today, doctors diagnosed her with meningitis caused by herpes. Doctors tested both parents, and neither of them had the virus. That means the baby picked it up from someone else, possibly just from being kissed or held by someone who has the virus.

“I never really thought this could happen to us,” said Nicole Sifrit. “We hope to bring awareness to other parents of newborns to be cautious on who visits your baby, who holds or touches them, and don’t let others kiss your baby.”

Nobody knows where Mariana’s infection came from. It was not her parents, but it could have been anyone she came into contact with. It could have been someone in the maternity ward where she was born. It could have been a friend or relative. Herpes simplex type 1 is very common in adults. More than half of adults are estimated to have it. In adults, the virus causes cold sores, but it often lies dormant. A person doesn’t even need to have visible cold sores to be shedding the virus. They don’t even necessarily know they have it.

Babies do not have adult immune systems, though, and herpes is extremely dangerous for them. Doctors gave Marian medications, blood transfusions, dialysis, and life support.

In spite of all the doctors’ efforts, Mariana died at just 18 days old. Now her parents are trying to publicize her death to raise awareness, in the hopes that this can help prevent other babies from suffering the same fate.

(Image: Facebook / Nicole Sifrit)