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Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
June 15, 2024 ·  4 min read

8-Year-Old Girl Lives With Brain Damage After Being Kissed On The Mouth When She Was Only 2 Days Old

Breelynn was born a healthy baby. However, 2 weeks later, she began suffering from a condition called  HSV encephalitis. Now, her mom has issued a warning to other parents regarding kissing newborns. 

HSV Encephalitis Causes Seizures and Brain Damage

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Image Credit: Special Books by Special Kids | YouTube

When newborn Breelynn was only two days old, someone kissed her on the mouth, but she had a cold sore at the time. Because of her tiny and undeveloped immune system, she developed the condition, and it ultimately impacted her brain development, leaving her with permanent damage. 

Read More: Nurse Places Dying Newborn next To Her Twin, Ends up Giving Her a Hug That Saves Her Life

Mom Shares Perspective

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Image Credit: Special Books by Special Kids | YouTube

Her mom spoke about the experience on a YouTube channel called “Special Books by Special Kids.” 

 “When parents say not to kiss your children, this is one of the reasons for sure. [Breelyn] was born healthy. She was fine. And at two days old, somebody was so excited to see her that they kissed her on the mouth, and two weeks later we started having seizures.” She explained. 

HSV Encephalitis is a Rare Condition

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Ultimately, Breelynn suffered from brain damage and HSV encephalitis. However, the condition is so rare that only 1 in 500,000 are diagnosed per year. “The infection got into her brain fluid and it attacked her brain.” Her mom added. “It attacked the left side of her brain mostly. It had just started moving over to the right side when we caught it.”

More or less, the encephalitis ate away at her brain tissue.”

Lasting Effects

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Sadly around 70% of her brain was damaged, 60 on the left and 10 on the right side. She’s doing shockingly well despite the odds but will suffer the effects her whole life, with medical professionals predicting she won’t live to adulthood. 

While these events have changed the course of our for everyone, her mom has forgiven the person who kissed Breelynn. “You know, it was an accident and they didn’t truly mean it,” she said.

Internet Users Comment

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Several concerned parents have commented, noting they didn’t know how dangerous a kiss could be, or that it could result in HSV Encephalitis. 

One person said: “I never knew a baby could get so sick from a kiss, totally shocking.

Another added: “I had no idea the dangers of kissing a baby until I saw this. I’m almost 30.”

Kissing is unsanitary by nature, but I never thought that this was possible,” a third added. “That’s heartbreaking.”

Read More: Mechanic Dad Transforms a Tool Cart into a Diaper Changing Station for His Newborn Twins

Several Risks for Newborns

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Kissing a newborn on the face or mouth doesn’t only increase the risk of contracting HSV encephalitis, it can cause several infections or outbreaks. 

One of the most common viruses a newborn gets from kisses from an adult is called RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). It’s a serious condition that could be fatal. It’s passed through physical contact or respiratory droplets, from sneezing or coughing. Note that RSV can still be passed to an infant, even if the person hasn’t had symptoms for a few days. RSV causes severe breathing and respiratory problems as well as problems for the heart and brain. 

Allergic reactions is another issue that may impact a newborn when they’re kissed on the face or mouth. For example, food particles or chemicals found in certain perfumes, lotions, or chapstick can cause infants to have an allergic reaction or response. 

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is another dangerous virus that can spread from contact and kissing babies. It causes ulcers or a rash around the mouth, hands, and feet. Although it’s not generally life-threatening, it can be problematic for children with weakened immune systems.

Blisters and cold sores, similar to HSV encephalitis, are among the most serious risks for an infant. This is likely because cold sores are common, and the viruses they carry can easily spread to other parts of the body. 

Preventing HSV Encephalitis and other Illnesses

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While it’s a good idea to refrain from kissing newborns, there are some other preventative steps one can take to minimize the risk of exposure to these germs.

  • Always wash your hands. Use soap and warm water. Scrub for at least 30 seconds before rinsing the soap. Always ensure to thoroughly dry hands as bacteria like to hang out in leftover water droplets. 
  • Brush teeth and use mouthwash 
  • Take off outer layers like jackets to prevent outside germs from coming in. 
  • Use a wipe to wash makeup or creams off the face and body. 
  • Although smoking cigarettes has become less common, people still do. For those who do, always shower and have a fresh set of clothes before holding or touching a newborn as nicotine and tobacco are known to cause respiratory illnesses and certain diseases like cancer. 

Newborns are born with an underdeveloped immune system and in the first few months of life, they’re the most susceptible to an array of illnesses, some lifelong or life-threatening. It’s important, no matter how tempting it may be, to refrain from kissing babies on the mouth, preventing the spread of diseases like HSV encephalitis.

Read More: Miracle Baby Born With No Skin, Died Twice, Still Surviving!


  1. The Dangers of Kissing Babies.” Pedseast Wednesday, May 20, 2020
  2. Herpes Meningoencephalitis.” Johns Hopkins
  3. 8-year-old girl left with brain damage after being kissed on the mouth when she was 2 days old.Unilad. Niamh Shackleton. May 21, 2024.