Couple begin campaign after baby dies at 12 days from cold sore virus

Infant believed to have contracted virus shortly after her birth in November 2015

Louise Wills from Rathfarnham with her baby daughter Eibhlín Gráinne who died from the common cold sore virus

Louise Wills from Rathfarnham with her baby daughter Eibhlín Gráinne who died from the common cold sore virus

 

A couple whose baby daughter died at just 12 days old after she contracted the common cold sore virus are seeking policy changes to prevent such a “tragic and devastating” experience happening to other parents.

John and Louise Wills, from Rathfarnham in Dublin, have created a website in memory of baby Eibhlín Gráinne, who was born on Thursday November 19th, 2015, at 9.29am by emergency Caesarean section in the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street.

Eibhlín weighed “a healthy 7lb 11oz”, Mr Wills said. But she was sent to the neonatal intensive care unit as a precautionary measure.

“After five nights in hospital she came home. Initially all appeared well and she had a high level of alertness for a young baby,” Mr Wills said.

Out of sorts

John and Louise made a frantic dash to the emergency department at Tallaght hospital where a crash team was immediately called.

Eibhlín, who was the couple’s first child, was pronounced dead at 1.09am a week to the day since she had come home. A postmortem established that the cause of her death was the Herpes Simplex Virus 1 – more commonly known as the cold sore virus.

“In Eibhlín’s case it was Disseminated Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus 1, which incubates for a time and results in multiple organ failure, but it remained asymptomatic until it was too late,” Mr Wills said.

Vertical transmission

Acquiring accurate statistics on newborn babies with HSV in Ireland has been difficult, in part due to the fact that neonatal herpes is not a notifiable disease here. The couple have called on Minister for Health Simon Harris to change this policy. They also want more information provided to student midwives, nurses and healthcare workers, and for GPs to discuss the herpes virus with pregnant women.

Further information is available at rememberingeibhlin.org