Remembering Eibhlín: Parents tell of tragic loss to raise awareness for virus

John and Louise Wills were shocked and devastated when their baby girl died suddenly.

At just 12 days old, she was settling into life with her loving parents before her tragic passing.

About a week after they brought her home from the hospital, she became unusually tired, congested, and “out of sorts”.

After her colour changed, the couple rushed their daughter to the closest A & E but it was too late.

For they did not know that underneath, little Eibhlín didn’t stand a chance against the cold sore virus that had devastated her tiny body.

That was three years ago and ever since, John and Louise have tried their best raising awareness for the dangers of the Herpes Simplex Virus 1.

Photo credit: Remembering Eibhlin

This rare but potentially life-threatening virus incubates for a time before causing multiple organ failure.

Due to the illness timeline, Eibhlín had contracted the easily transferable virus when she was in the hospital from an unaware carrier, who most likely had a cold sore.

After hearing their baby girl’s story and their attempts to raise awareness of the virus, a judge recommended that neonatal herpes become a notifiable disease.

The couple is asking that all maternity units in Ireland receive factual data on neonatal HSV and that the public knows how dangerous it is for those with cold sores to come in direct contact with babies, especially newborns.

“We are sharing our story in Eibhlín's memory so we can create awareness about the dangers of HSV/Cold sores and neonates,” said the parents.

“It also serves to educate people as to what they can do to limit the risks of such infection as well as highlighting our wishes for change going forward."

John and Louis have started a website to not only tell their daughter's story but to inform other parents about and raise awareness for the virus.