Story By: Ana Lacasa, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
A new mother has warned other parents not to let friends and family close to their babies after her son was infected with herpes by a kiss from a loved one at just 17 days old.
Mother Rafaela Moreira, from the city of Sao Paulo in the Brazilian state of the same name was shocked to find her son Gustavo’s face covered in a severe rash after he woke up just 17 days after being born.
Moreira rushed her son to the M’Boi Mirim Municipal Hospital and doctors quickly found that the baby had contracted herpes.
Moreira told reporters: “When Gustavo was born I went home and I had several visits in a row, family members, friends, there is no saying who he caught it off, I don’t want to accuse anyone.”
Gustavo spent 10 days being treated in hospital and Moreira says: “He wasn’t kept in the Intensive Care Unit as he didn’t have a fever, it seems it was God’s work. He had several blood tests and I was lucky he didn’t have a fever.”
The youngster was discharged after 10 days in hospital but had to continue receiving treatment to stop the herpes returning.
The youngster is now four months old but mother Rafaela has only recently revealed her story in a social media post which has been shared over 188,000 times.
She warned other mothers: “Stop kissing babies that aren’t your own. Parents, don’t let visitors speak to your baby very close and / or kiss your baby. And always ask them to rub alcohol gel on their hands before touching the baby.”
Kleber Luz, professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, said that herpes carried a high risk for newborns as their immune system is fragile.
He said: “Newborn have very low defences. Herpes in a newborn has one characteristic: invade the nervous system and produce encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). That’s why when the spots are seen on the baby’s face it is an indication of a cerebral injury. It’s serious.”
He added: “The transmission is done through contact, mainly intimate such as a kiss, from an infected person.”
Luz recommended visitors to keep a distance from newborns as they need to be cared for by the family rather than kissed.
Herpes cannot be cured but its symptoms can be treated with antiviral drugs which reduce the probability of the symptoms returning.