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Why you shouldn’t let people kiss your baby


Mothers have been cautioned against allowing people to kiss their babies and toddlers so as to curb oral herpes, a virus transmitted through saliva.

According to a pediatrician at Kiambu Level 4 Hospital, Dr Grace Onyango, there have been increasing cases of children being brought to the facility’s pediatric unit after contracting the virus.

Dr Onyango said the condition, known as cold herpes – which causes blisters on the mouth, lips, eye and the throat – is however unknown to many young mothers.

“We’ve had cases of children with high temperature and difficulties in feeding as a result of infection with oral herpes. Mother should be cautious because these infections can be fatal,” Dr Onyango said.

Dr Onyango said the disease may be passed on to the baby during delivery in cases where the mother may have suffered from genital herpes and did not go for proper treatment therefore making the foetus susceptible to the virus.

The pediatrician said that 70 per cent of the mothers in the health facility who attend ante-natal clinic are diagnosed with the disease.

TYPES OF ORAL HERPES

She explained that there are two types of the disease, namely Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 and Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 (HSV).

HSV type 1, Dr Onyango says, is usually passed on from an adult who is suffering from cold herpes to a newborn whose immune system is not strong through saliva when it is kissed.

“These viruses cause high fevers, seizures, liver damage and brain damage in very young babies,” she added.

The HSV type 2 usually affects the genitals of adults who engage in unprotected sex with multiple partners.

Mothers have therefore been urged to seek immediate medical attention whenever they notice sores on their child’s face and around the mouth.

Another preventive measure is for mothers to enforce hand washing before people touch their babies to prevent transmission of germs and viruses as well as asking friends and relatives suffering from cold sores to postpone visit until the infection passes.