ON July 7th, just two hours after Iowa parents Nicole and Shane Sifrit said their vows at their wedding ceremony, the newlyweds were rushing their newborn baby to hospital.
Mariana, who was just seven-days-old at the time, had suddenly stopped eating and could not be roused from rest despite the fact that she had been born perfectly healthy just a week earlier.
When they arrived at the hospital, Nicole and Shane learnt that their precious girl had Meningitis HSV1 - a disease carried by someone with the cold sore virus, but not necessarily with an open sore.
The couple both tested negative to the disease, meaning that the baby had contracted it elsewhere - likely either from a kiss, or even from being touched by someone who had not properly washed their hands first.
"They touch her and then she touches her mouth with her hand," Nicole said in an interview with WHOtv, as she explained how Mariana had likely picked up the terrible illness.
The Meningitis Research Foundation say that many people carry the herpes simplex virus without ever knowing they have it. It is even possible to transmit it without having any active symptoms.
The tiny little girl is still battling on, but many of her major organs are beginning to fail. Doctors have told her parents to prepare for the worst. They remain ever hopeful that she will pull though, but if she does, little Mariana will likely be left with severe complications.
"I always thought this stuff happens and it's a shame and never thought it would happen to me. I was not prepared at all," Shane told WHOtv.
"Don't let people kiss your baby and make sure they ask before they pick up your baby," Nicole added.
If you want to support the family you can make a donation through their GoFundMe page.
Many people might feel awkward or silly asking people to wash their hands before they pick up their newborn - you might feel like you're being overprotective. But a simple hand wash really makes a difference and can help prevent your baby from contracting a serious disease.
The World Health Organisation recommends the following instructions for proper hand washing technique:
- Wet your hands with running water - either warm or cold.
- Apply liquid, bar or powder soap.
- Lather well.
- Rub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinse well.
- Dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel or air dryer.
- If possible, use a towel or your elbow to turn off the faucet.
This article originally appeared on Kidspot and has been republished here with permission.