27/02/2009

'Mother's Kiss' May Have Killed Newborn

The death of an 11-day-old baby, could have been caused from her mother's kiss, an inquest in Lancashire has heard.

Jennifer Schofield was just 11 days old when her vital organs failed after contracting Herpes Simplex Virus in November 2006.

The baby's mother, Ruth, aged 35, of Lancaster, transmitted the virus to Jennifer by kissing or breastfeeding.

Miss Schofield had felt ill a few days before giving birth last November and was later treated for mouth ulcers.

She was prescribed antibiotics and was then treated by her GP.

Her daughter was admitted to Lancaster Royal Infirmary when she was eight-days-old for assessment, because she was sleepy and not feeding.

A range of tests were carried out, including a lumbar puncture to rule out meningitis. Her condition deteriorated and she died three days later.

Coroner Dr James Adeley recorded a narrative verdict, and said nobody was blamed for failing to spot the virus.

He added that she had probably caught HSV in the late stages of her pregnancy.

The 35-year-old said: "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.

"More needs to be done as this can happen to anyone without them knowing about it."

Miss Schofield has since been campaigning to raise awareness of the condition.

It is estimated six babies a year die in the UK by infecting HSV.

(JM/BMcC)

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