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A Mom's Shocking Facebook Photo Shows Why You Should Be Wary Of People Kissing Your Baby

Claire Henderson said her newborn daughter could have died after she contracted oral herpes from a visitor.

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Claire Henderson's daughter, Brooke, was born about a month ago, and many visitors stopped by to meet her.

Henderson told BuzzFeed News that one of the visitors carried the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), which causes cold sores and can be transmitted via oral-to-oral contact.

She said the visitor didn't appear to have a cold sore at the time she held Brooke. However, HSV-1 can be transmitted through saliva and surfaces in or around the mouth as well, according to the World Health Organization.


While feeding her daughter one night, Henderson said she noticed Brooke had a cold sore and swollen lips.

Claire Henderson

She said she knew she had to take her baby to the hospital immediately.

"My friend had shared an article with me on Facebook when I was four months pregnant on the dangers of cold sores in babies," she said.

When she got to the hospital, Henderson's doctors said she was right to take Brooke's condition so seriously.

Claire Henderson

Brooke had sores in the back of her throat and on her lips, and was immediately tested to see if she had brain or liver damage.

"If she had been left it could have easily spread and — worst case — been fatal," Henderson said.

Dr. Bonnie Maldonado, a professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Stanford University, told BuzzFeed News that cases such as Brooke's are rare, but incredibly serious.

According to Maldonado, if a baby contracts a cold sore in their first month of life it can lead to "severe neurological disease" or death.

However, she said most babies aren't at risk because they have antibodies from their mothers.

"It's one of these diseases that we are really vigilant for, but it's so rare," she said.

Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 (the virus that typically causes genital herpes) can also be transmitted from mother to baby during childbirth.

Brooke was put on an anti-viral drip for five days, and is now doing well. Henderson said she decided to share the story on Facebook to warn other moms to be extremely vigilant.

The post has since been shared more than 35,000 times.

"We would really encourage people not to kiss babies in the first month of life if they have lesions," Maldonado said.

Henderson said the situation was terrifying, and more people need to be aware of the risks.

"I've read other stories where there have been babies who die from the herpes virus. It's really scary that it's not more publicized," she said.

She added that she is amazed about how far her story has spread, and hopes it'll make a difference.

"I really hope that it has raised awareness and can help other parents recognize the signs to act quickly if their baby contracts it, too," she said.


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