A woman in Iowa is warning other parents to be careful after finding that her baby boy tested positive for the herpes virus.
Samantha Rodgers of Des Moines said she has no idea how her son contracted the virus, but Juliano, now one year old, which have to carry it for the rest of his life, KPTV reports. “It sucks because it’s a lifelong problem now,” she said.
I don’t know how to handle this. I am trying my best. It breaks my heart, and I can’t do anything to help him.
Rodgers noticed that her son had red blisters in and around the infant’s mouth on July 21. She brought him for a check-up, and doctors initially told her that he had the flu, or a bad case of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.
Juliano’s symptoms worsened. Rodgers said, “His sores were growing onto his hands and his neck and his stomach.” She brought him to the Blank Children Hospital in Des Moines, where doctors tested the boy for herpes simplex type 1 virus (HSV). The results came back positive.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states that cold sores are highly contagious and can spread via saliva, skin contact or touching an item that has been handled by someone carrying the virus. HSV is especially dangerous for infants under six months old, as their immune systems have not fully developed and cannot fight the virus.
On June 18, a one-week-old baby, also from Iowa, died of viral meningitis caused by HSV.
Once a child is infected, he or she may not show symptoms later on, or multiple outbreaks may occur within a year. Rodgers suspects someone with the virus might have touched or kissed her son, infecting him. “All I can say is just be cautious, it can be anybody your best friend, your sister, your brother, or your mom,” she warned. “If you see a cold sore or anything on them just don’t let them come by your baby.”
Both mother and son will soon go home after Juliano finishes treatment.