Kira Aldcroft, a 22-year-old from Prestwich in the United Kingdom, didn’t know she had herpes.
She had never experienced any symptoms besides thrush, which is a common side effect of pregnancy, according to the Daily Mail. Her son was born nine days premature, but everything seemed fine until he was eight days old.
That’s when he started bleeding from the mouth. Aldcroft rushed her son to the hospital, where doctors realized Aldcroft had herpes simplex virus type 2, or HSV-2, which she passed to her son during his birth. Eventually, his organs began to fail, and she had to take him off of life support.
Herpes is spread through skin-to-skin contact, and not everyone who is infected with herpes knows they have it. HSV-1 and HSV-2 are the types of herpes most commonly spread through sexual contact. HSV-1 is most commonly found around the mouth, and HSV-2 is most commonly found around the genitals. Either type can be found in either location, though.
If Aldcroft had known how common herpes is and the danger it poses to infants delivered vaginally, she could have gotten tested. And if she had, doctors could have the delivered her child via C-section so the herpes wouldn’t have spread to her son.
You can make a donation to the family on their GoFundMe page.
Aldcroft is sharing her story to let pregnant women know that they should get tested for herpes, even if they haven’t experienced any signs or symptoms.
It’s best to be sure – it could save a bay’s life.