A HEARTBROKEN father has spoken of his grief after his 13-day-old son died from a lethal cold sore virus.

James de Malplaquet’s wife Sarah Higson, 37, of Brighton, gave birth to Kit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in September last year.

Kit was born healthy, but the couple did not realise, at the time, their little boy had contracted the virus.

James, 46, of Brighton, said: “Kit had a very traumatic birth. Sarah had high blood pressure and doctors wanted to induce her.

“She had to have an emergency C-Section at 39 weeks.

“Kit had low blood sugar and he needed to be placed in special care.

“He slept a lot too, we initially thought he was just a sleepy baby. Doctors gave him antibiotics for bacterial infection but not viral infection.

“When doctors drew blood from his heel for tests he didn’t react to the pain. He slept to the extent he didn’t even wake up for feeding.

“We were told he was just a sleepy baby and not to worry about it.”

Kit was discharged from the hospital on the eigth day but had to be re-admitted the next day as he was not waking up, and struggled to feed.

He was then taken to Evelina Children’s Hospital in London after three days where doctors gave Kit another dose of antibiotics. 

James said: “Kit’s health got worse and worse, and his blood became acidic. He suffered sepsis and multi-organ failure.

“When we rushed to London we were told he might not make it.

“He came to the world for a short time, yet he suffered so much. Standing by helplessly as a doctor performed CPR on our baby’s tiny swollen and bleeding body is a memory which will haunt us forever.”

Doctors diagnosed him with herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection, which is the same virus that causes cold sores, the day after Kit passed away.

Kit died on September 29. The couple have now set up a charity, The Kit Tarka Foundation, in memory of their little boy.

James said: “In 90 per cent of cases, the virus is transmitted to a baby during birth from the mother but we can only speculate on the most likely source of transmission to Kit.

“Blood tests showed no trace of HSV in Sarah, unlike an estimated 70 per cent of the population, and I had not had a cold sore for years.

“The charity aims to educate and support medical research in neonatal herpes, which is newborns contracting herpes. Currently no charities funds such research, the last published report was 25 years ago.”

James added: "We felt we had a moral obligation to find funding for research and education of healthcare professionals about HSV.

"We hope to prevent more tragedies like Kit's. We have organised a fundraising festival, KitFest, on the day before we should have been celebrating Kit's first birthday"

The concert takes place on September 15 at St George’s Church, in St George’s Road, Brighton.

Go to bit.ly/kitsconcert and kittarkafoundation.org for more information.