Herpes infections are transmitted primarily through contact with infected saliva, in most cases when an adult kisses a child out of affection.
Are you or your friends or relatives kissing your child on the lips? If so, you must stop immediately. Not because some see the natural expression of affection as an inappropriate misconduct or sexually inappropriate, but because that kind of perfectly acceptable expression of intimacy between an adult and a child can be life-threatening for the latter.
Ten-year-old Briony Klingberg fated this in her home in the Adelaide Hills. Her mother, Bridget Klingberg, brought her to her family doctor last January. Christopher Heinrich, after she got worried. Briony had to vomit, had problems with swallowing and fever that lasted for almost a week. Dr. Heinrich prescribed an antibiotic on Jan. 13 because she had ulcers in her mouth, enlarged glands, and pharyngitis. Blood tests appeared to confirm that she had Pfeiffer’s glandular fever because of abnormal liver function.
Apart from Dr. Heinrich, Briony was with five doctors over a period of five days, including the family doctor. Christopher Say, who discovered ulcers on her tonsils on January 15, but never suspected she was suffering from a herpes simplex virus. However, when her condition worsened, Briony was taken to Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Unfortunately, it was too late for the child; it suffered a seizure in the parking lot, came to the pediatric intensive care unit, where it died in the early morning hours of January 18, after its life-support measures were discontinued. His illness remained undiagnosed until an autopsy revealed that the cause of death was a multiple organ failure due to a herpes simplex infection.
Although the girl, in the opinion of an assistant, dr. Alice Rogers, who examined Briony at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, had laryngitis, was dehydrated, had unusual ulcers in her throat and was to be examined by Chief Physician Davinder Gill, who found the child healthy enough to go home. A deeply sad Bridget heartbroken said to ABC News:
We never went home with a diagnosis, it was all just a guess. Everyone sent us home, so we thought she could not be so ill. I felt I could not bring her back to the hospital unless she felt worse; It did not necessarily look like it was getting any worse, but it did not get any better. We could not relieve the pain, we could not stop the fever. But I did not want to go back with the same signs that sent them home. I felt that I really could not go back because they said I should not bring them back until they feel worse.
How has Briony been infected with the herpes simplex virus?
According to the World Health Organization, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is a highly contagious infection. An oral herpes infection is usually without symptoms and the majority of people with HSV-1 infection are not aware that they are even infected. Experts warn that most HSV-1 infections occur during childhood and are transmitted primarily through contact with infected saliva, in most cases when a grown-up kisses a child out of affection.
It is quite possible that Briony also received the fatal infection from a person in her circle of acquaintances, and since the herpes symptoms (including painful blisters or ulcers at the infected site) have gone undetected, neither her family nor the doctors could get the right one in time Make a diagnosis to save her life.