Did Mother’s Kiss Kill Her Baby?

(Feb. 27) – A loving mother may have killed her own baby by kissing the newborn girl — and infecting her with the herpes virus. Jennifer Schofield was just 11 days old in November 2006. Her organs failed after she contracted the herpes simplex virus, which can cause cold sores. An inquest in Lancaster, northeastern England, heard the baby contracted the virus either through her mother’s kisses or breastfeeding, the BBC reported Friday.

A Mother’s Grief Manchester Evening News 3 photos Jennifer Schofield was just 11 days old when she died in November 2006 of multiple organ failure caused by the herpes simplex virus. The newborn was infected by her mother, Ruth Schofield, either through kisses or breastfeeding. “The hardest thing any woman can do is watch her baby die,” Schofield told the BBC on Friday.

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Jennifer’s mother, 35-year-old Ruth Schofield, probably caught the virus late in her pregnancy, the inquest was told. She experienced flu-like symptoms before Jennifer’s birth and developed mouth ulcers after the birth. Although her doctor gave her a mouthwash, the herpes virus was not diagnosed, the BBC said. HSV can be extremely hard to detect, the inquest heard. “If I had known I was suffering from HSV and the risks of being near a newborn baby, then Jennifer could be here today,” Schofield said, according to the Daily Mail. The coroner returned a narrative verdict, meaning the cause of death is recorded without attributing the cause to a named individual. The coroner, Dr. James Adeley, said neither Jennifer’s family nor medical staff should blame themselves. Schofield told the BBC she wanted all mothers to be aware of the risks of passing HSV to their babies. She said she has written to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, asking for more literature about the virus to be provided in health clinics. “The hardest thing any woman can do is watch her baby die,” she said