(INSIDE EDITION) A heartbroken family has bid a final farewell to their 18-day-old baby who died of meningitis after her parents believe she was kissed by someone carrying the herpes virus.
Mariana Sifrit was born healthy on July 1, the day her mom and dad were married. But at one week old, she began to act strangely.
She had a hard time waking up, her mother said. Her breathing was rapid and she didn't want nourishment.
Shane and Nicole Sifrit took her to the hospital. There, the infant turned blue and stopped breathing. She was hooked to machines that breathed for her, as her parents looked on, helpless.
"They told us there was nothing more they could do and they disconnected her from all the machines. Shane held her in his arms and I stood over her as she passed away," Nicole told Inside Edition.
The parents are not sure how Mariana contracted the HSV-1 virus, but they think it may have been from a kiss delivered by a well-wisher with a cold sore.
Dr. Nancy Snyderman, a professor of global health at Stanford University, said up to 80 percent of adults carry the herpes simplex virus.
"Since mom and dad tested negative, [and a] healthy baby was born," she told Inside Edition, the infant may have "kissed by a stranger or a family member."
After the virus was transmitted to Mariana, it went to her brain and resulted in meningitis, the doctor said.
"In the first three weeks, the immune system is not developed," she said. "Parents should, politely but firmly, tell would-be baby kissers "Not now, but maybe in a couple of weeks."
Her parents buried her in tiny pink coffin, and their deepest hope is that parents will learn from their devastating loss.