Cold sore warning: They can be lethal for babies

“Think before you kiss a baby next time.”

Graphic images of a baby covered in angry red sores over his legs and body have been posted by a new mum on Facebook – and they’re a shocking reminder of how dangerous highly contagious cold sores – in essence, the herpes virus – can be to infants.

Mum Amy Stinton posted the photos of her 14-month-old son Oliver last week and the warning has been shared far and wide (at the most recent count, more than 4000 times).

“This is what happens to babies when been in contact with a cold sore. Oliver now has the herpes virus and will have this for life,” she captioned her post.

“Think before you kiss a baby next time.”

The mum went on to say that she took her son to the hospital in the nick of time – any later and he would probably have ended up in intensive care.

But while she is sad to see her little one in pain, she is not pointing the finger of blame at anyone and instead just wants to raise awareness about how contagious this virus can be and how dangerous it is to babies.

“Not point in blaming people, I just wanna (sic) make people aware. It could have happened months ago as he was run done when it appeared. Just a shame he will always have it,” she wrote.

Amy posted updates on Ollie’s sores. PHOTO: Facebook

In November 2014, the herpes simplex virus was linked with the death of a newborn in Queensland, Australia.

Eloise Lampton was just 24 days old when she died after being diagnosed with a herpes simplex virus.

Her mother Sarah Pugh told the ABC at the time that doctors said 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.

She went public with this story to raise awareness – and what happened to her family was spread far and wide.

Medical experts say that babies can contract the herpes virus after birth if they are kissed from someone who has an active cold sore or are handled by someone who has herpes on their fingers.

While it is rare that a newborn contracts the virus, it is so dangerous for little infants as can also cause eye infections and brain disease.

The Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit in Sydney has been conducting research into neonatal herpes for the past 20 years.

Professor Cheryl Jones, a paediatrician and infectious diseases specialist at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney and part of this ongoing study said neonatal HSV infection is usually acquired during delivery following maternal genital HSV infection, but can also be acquired post-natally from an infected contact.

“Without antiviral therapy, death or handicap is almost inevitable after disseminated or central nervous system disease,” she said.

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