London, February 28: An 11-day-old baby girl died after her mother unwittingly infected her with the virus which causes cold sores, probably through a kiss or breastfeeding, a coroner ruled.
An inquest on Thursday found newborn Jennifer Schofield died from Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). Her mother Ruth, 35, probably caught it late into her pregnancy, the coroner said, most likely for the first time in her life, meaning she had not developed immunity and nor had her child.
The virus attacked the baby’s major organs and she died within days.
Schofield fell ill with flu-like symptoms a few days before giving birth, and was treated for several mouth ulcers. Her daughter subsequently became unwell and was admitted to hospital because she was sleepy and not feeding.
Coroner James Adeley said no one could be blamed for failing to identify the virus.
Schofield is now campaigning to raise awareness of the condition which she said kills six babies a year in Britain. “I have been left totally devastated and heartbroken by the death of Jennifer. It’s more than a year since she died but the pain has not lessened,” she said.