A HEARTBROKEN couple are raising awareness about how a common cold sore virus can be lethal to newborn children.
James de Malplaquet and Sarah Higson’s son Kit died at just 13 days old of the virus which is easily passed on by any touch.
They have now set up the charity – The Kit Tarka Foundation – to raise awareness about how the virus is thought to kill 65 babies each year.
Their son was born at the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton last September.
He was healthy after being born by emergency cesarean at 39 weeks but he needed to be placed into special care due to a blood sugar problem, the Mail On Sunday reports.
While doctors carried out a series of tests and gave him antibiotics for a bacterial infection, they did not carry out any tests for a viral infection.
When he was discharged, he had to come back to hospital the next day and was eventually taken to the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London.
Doctors then diagnosed him with herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection, which is the same virus that cause cold sores, and the infection caused sepsis and multi-organ failure.
Kit died the following day.
Sarah, 37, said: “I remember them trying to resuscitate him, trying to bring him back by pumping his little body.
“That still haunts me.”
Paediatrician Dr Patrick Davies, from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, added: “It’s a very dangerous infection but the earlier it’s recognised and treated, the better.
“If it isn’t spotted, babies suffer multi-organ collapse, which is just irretrievable.”
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Nicola Ranger, Chief Nursing Officer for the Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “HSV infection is very rare in babies and can often be very difficult to diagnose.
“We are supporting the Kit Tarka Foundation to raise the profile of neonatal HSV infection and absolutely support the Foundation’s mission and vision.”