By SOPHIE KESTEVEN
A few days after baby Eloise Lampton was born in early November she was taken back to a Mackay hospital.
She was then airlifted to a Brisbane hospital where she was diagnosed with a herpes simplex virus.
Eloise died on November 25.
Eloise’s parents want to raise awareness about the dangers of cold sores (Image via ABC)
Mother Sarah Pugh says doctors told her the cold sore virus could have caused her death.
“I don’t suffer from cold sores and was never really aware of them, but doctors told me that they think my daughter caught the virus one or two days after birth,” she said.
Sarah says doctors told her that her daughter needed to be put on life support in intensive care.
“They told us the risk – that she was either going to die in a few hours or put her on this machine and try and make her better,” she said.
“You would do anything for your kids.
“But then she ended up getting a staph infection which put a cyst on her brain, so we were made to turn the machine off.”
Newborn babies are unable to be vaccinated until they are six months old.
Sarah says she hopes to raise awareness around the issue and wants people to take extra caution with their babies, especially in the first six months of their lives before getting vaccinated.
“Make sure you are washing your hands and taking care with your personal hygiene, it is a must around little kids,” she said.
“It’s good to bring awareness around this, because honestly this is my fourth child, I just planned to be in hospital for six hours and come home and you know when you have four children you are sort of blase because the other three were so healthy, it is pretty unexpected.”
Rare condition says doctors
Mackay Base Hospital child and adolescent health director Michael Williams says it is an extremely rare condition for babies to die from a herpes virus and that Eloise Lampton’s case is a very difficult case to understand.
“We will be reviewing her case to try and better understand it in the next week,” he said.
“Most babies who develop the herpes infection in the newborn period acquire it through the birthing process, it is only a small percentage – one in 10 acquire it after birth,” he said.
Eloise was placed on life support after contracting the virus.
Despite this, Dr Williams says it is possible for a baby to pick up herpes from being in contact with someone with a cold sore.
Dr Williams says he recalls a study from many years ago relating to nurses and how common it is to have the virus.