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Moms May Pass Virus to Fetuses, Expert Suggests

WORLD 11:15: Dec-16, 20
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Zeng Lingkong, director of Wuhan Children's Hospital's neonatology department, checks the condition of an infant in this file photo. [Wuhan Children's Hospital]


A medical expert suggested possible mother-to-fetus transmission of the novel coronavirus pneumonia on Wednesday after two newborns were diagnosed with the infection in Wuhan, Hubei Province.

Both the infants' mothers are confirmed cases, and one of the babies was confirmed only 30 hours after its birth, the youngest confirmed case so far.

Early Sunday morning, the baby boy's mother, who was identified as Chen, was sent to the fever clinic of the Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, the center of the epidemic, after her fever persisted for eight hours.

Chen was given a C-section after the hospital found she was a suspected case, and at about 8 am on Sunday the baby boy was born weighing 3.25 kilograms and without having difficulty breathing.

Soon after Chen was diagnosed with the infection, her baby was also quickly confirmed and transferred to Wuhan Children's Hospital, the designated hospital for infected children.

The boy, who is in stable condition, is being hospitalized in a special zone and has no fever or coughs, but is exhibiting symptoms including rapid breathing, lung infection and abnormal liver function.

"Medical staff members and experts have paid more attention to the case, as it reminds us of a new possible transmission route of the novel coronavirus. That's the mother-to-fetus transmission," said Zeng Lingkong, director of the hospital's newborn medical department.

In the other case, the infected baby boy was born in good condition on January 13. Seventeen days later, he showed symptoms including fever, coughs and spitting up. He was sent to Wuhan Children's Hospital on Friday and was diagnosed with the infection.

The hospital said that the newborn's nanny came to the family to offer nursing services on January 22 and was confirmed to have the infection. Four days later, the baby's mother was also diagnosed with the disease.

"It's still uncertain whether the mother and the baby were infected by the nanny at the same time, or the mother was first infected and then infected the baby," Zeng said. "As a close contact of the confirmed cases, the baby was susceptible to infection."

The doctor said that mothers of newborns in the hospital's special zone are confirmed cases, "but the medical tests of most infants here are negative," he said.

"But considering that the novel coronavirus is new, what we have learned shows new babies should not be exempt from the infection," he said. He added that pregnant women who are infected should also test their babies.


(Source: China Daily)

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