Parents of 18-day old Mariana Sifrit are suffering her loss. The newborn contracted a virus from a visitor, doctors say.
Newlyweds Shane and Nicole Sifrit noticed their baby infant had stopped eating and was slow to wake up. They rushed her to the hospital where she was diagnosed with Meningitis HSV1 virus, a life-threatening herpes infection that is passed through close contact.
Both parents had tested negative for the disease, so doctors surmised one of the baby’s many visitors may have passed the virus onto Mariana, through a cold sore coupled with an affectionate kiss.
Mariana had been hospitalized in Iowa City as her mother shared updates on Facebook. She warned parents:
“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.”
Mariana reportedly had a half-dozen blood transfusions and was put on dialysis. She was eventually transferred to the University of Iowa Hospital, where teams of specialists attempted to save her life.
The infant was hooked up to a life support machine and a tangle of tubes and IV lines.
Due to the severe damage done to her vital organs by the virus, her parents were told that if Mariana survived she would have long-term brain, kidney and liver complications.
Tragically, Mariana succumbed to the virus on Tuesday morning.
In a Facebook update, Nicole wrote:
“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. She is now no longer suffering and is with the Lord. In her 18 days of life she made a huge impact on the world and we hope with Mariana’s Story we save numerous newborns life. R.I.P. sweet angel.”
Shane and Nicole hope their story informs other parents about the dangers presented by loving visitors.
“They touched her, and then she touched her mouth with her hand,’” Nicole explained. “It’s important people are cautious when they let anyone handle their babies.”
A GoFundMe campaign was set up to help Sifrit family with Mariana’s medical expenses.
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