Newborn tested positive for coronavirus 30 hours after birth
A 30-hour-old infant born in a Wuhan hospital has become the youngest person to catch the new coronavirus.
The newborn’s mother was found to have contracted the virus before giving birth on February 2 at Wuhan Children Hospital. The baby’s case suggested that the new virus could be passed on to unborn children, scientists said.
“This reminds us to pay attention to mother-to-child being a possible route of coronavirus transmission,” said Zeng Lingkong, the chief physician at the hospital’s neonatal department.
The infected infant has no fever or cough but experienced shortness of breath, according to CCTV.
The hospital also confirmed a second case of a newborn showing symptoms 16 days after their birth. The baby’s mother and nanny were found to be infected in the days following the birth on 13 January. The infant is not in a critical condition, doctors said.
An infant in #Wuhan has tested positive for the novel #coronavirus just 30 hours after birth, said the city's children's hospital, raising concerns that infection could be contracted in the womb pic.twitter.com/j8FIdqKgAS
— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) February 5, 2020
“Whether it was the baby’s nanny who passed to the virus to the mother who passed it to the baby, we cannot be sure at the moment,” Zeng said.
“But we can confirm that the baby was in close contact with patients infected with the new coronavirus, which says newborns can also be infected.”
However, Stephen Morse, an epidemiologist at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, told Business Insider that an in-utero transmission was unlikely.
“It’s more likely that the baby contracted the virus from the hospital environment, the same way healthcare workers get infected by the patients they treat,” Morse said.
“It’s quite possible that the baby picked it up very conventionally – by inhaling virus droplets that came from the mother coughing.”
More than 24,500 people around the world have now contracted the virus, with the death toll approaching 500.
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