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Newborn contracts fatal illness, likely from a visitor's kiss

Most parents know that babies are not born with fully developed immune systems, and as such, newborns are more susceptible to illnesses and infections than the adults around them. What many parents may not know, however, is that something as simple as a kiss can be the start of a devastating infection that can even threaten their baby's life.

It's called neonatal herpes and, sadly, it claimed the life of an 18-day-old baby girl named Mariana Sifrit in Iowa this week.

♡praying for a miracle♡

According to a series of Facebook posts by Mariana's mother, Nicole Sifrit, the baby girl was born on July 1 and discharged with a completely clean bill of health, only to be admitted to the NICU and placed on life support six days later. 

Her liver was failing. She was bleeding internally. Her blood wouldn't clot. And doctors quickly discovered that little Mariana had contracted viral meningitis from herpes simplex virus type 1, or HSV-1, a strain of the herpes virus likely transmitted by the kiss of an adult with a cold sore.

"Most adults are infected with HSV-1 and have HSV-1 in their mouths and saliva from time to time, but do not have any symptoms," the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene explains in a statement . "HSV-1 infection can spread when infected saliva touches a mucous membrane or a cut or break in the skin." 

Update on Princess Mariana: first of all from the bottom of my heart I can't thank everyone enough for the outpouring...

"While HSV-1 in adults can cause the common cold sore, HSV-1 infection in newborns is very serious," the statement adds.

Neonatal herpes is also at the root of the recent controversy surrounding ultra-Orthodox Jewish circumcisions in the New York area. The religious ritual involves a rabbi sucking a small amount of blood out of an infant's wound with his mouth after the baby's foreskin has been removed. This sort of oral suction circumcision has reportedly been in existence since biblical times, but since the year 2000, New York City health officials have linked it to more than 17 cases of infant herpes.

"Most of the children reported were hospitalized, some developed brain damage, and two died," city health officials said.

The most frightening aspect of herpes simplex virus type 1 may be that while it can be deadly in infants, it is extremely common and often lies dormant in adults. That means it's a silent killer you often cannot see. 

So, how can parents possibly hope to protect their babies?

One week ago today/Today

For starters, you can keep an eye out for the symptoms. A child getting sick may develop fever, lethargy, skin rashes, irritability and a reluctance to eat. You can also make sure that you and everyone who touches your baby thoroughly washes


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Chipotle incident shines light on takeout food safety

If this week's closing of a Chipotle restaurant in Virginia makes you feel a bit squeamish about eating takeout, there are a few rules of thumb you can follow to help educe your odds of foodborne illness , health experts say.

Chipotle said it shuttered a store in Sterling, Virginia, Monday after a number of customers reported stomach illness. 

The chain has been working to bounce back from a series of health scares , including a multi-state  E. coli outbreak  in the fall of 2015 that prompted the temporary shutdown of  dozens of Chipotle restaurants . There was also an unrelated  norovirus outbreak in Boston that year where more than 100 customers, including dozens of Boston College students, got sick with the gastrointestinal illness. 

The company instituted new food handling policies nationwide to try to prevent a recurrence.

To cut your risk of foodborne illness, you don't need to stop eating out, said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. But he recommends following some common-sense practices.

"I see patients on almost a daily basis with foodborne illness . It's quite a common occurrence," Glatter told CBS News. 

The culprit is usually an infected employee who hasn't washed their hands and then goes on to prepare food, he said. 

To reduce your odds of getting sick:

  • Make sure your food passes the smell test. "If in doubt, throw it out. It's not worth days of misery and vomiting or diarrhea," Glatter said. 
  • Don't leave takeout food on the counter then eat it it later. Germs can grow in foods within 2 hours if they're not refrigerated below 40°F.
  • Make sure the restaurant or food truck you're eating at is up to code. Different areas have different rules. If you're not sure, ask the restaurant to confirm.
  • Think twice before ordering a sandwich piled with raw sprouts , warn food safety experts. Sprouts — including alfalfa, mung bean, clover and radish sprouts — can be contaminated with E. coli or salmonella.
  • People who are pregnant, over the age of 65, have a weaker immune system, and children age 5 or under should avoid eating soft French-style cheeses, pates, alfalfa sprouts, unpasteurized juices, undercooked meat or fish, uncooked hot dogs and sliced deli meats — they can be sources of  Listeria infections
  • Wash your hands with hot soapy water before you chow down. It can reduce your risk of getting sick if you touched infected surfaces before a meal, Glatter said.
  • Skip next-day leftovers, said Glatter, who does not recommend storing and reheating day-old takeout food.
  • When ordering takeout, opt for busy meal times — not, for example, at 3 in the morning — otherwise you risk eating food that's been sitting out under a food lamp or unchilled for hours.

Each year, about 1 in 6 Americans — 48 million people — get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die due to foodborne diseases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and

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