Newborn baby in China tests positive for coronavirus, infected mother likely the cause

Potential new route of transmission.

Ashley Tan | February 06, 2020, 12:16 AM

The novel coronavirus (nCoV) is known to be transmitted through close contact via respiratory droplets when sneezing or coughing.

Chinese doctors however, have revealed that the virus could be transmitted from infected pregnant women to their unborn children.

Baby tested positive 30 hours later

Doctors at the Wuhan Children Hospital believe this is possible after a patient infected with the coronavirus gave birth to a newborn baby on Feb. 2, 2020.

The baby was given a test 30 hours later, and was confirmed to have the coronavirus, reported Reuters.

Doctors said on state television on Feb. 5 that while the baby was not coughing or sneezing and showed stable vital signs, it also experienced shortness of breath.

Chest x-rays conducted on the baby showed signs of infection, and abnormalities in its liver function.

Chief physician of Wuhan Children Hospital’s neonatal medicine department, Zeng Lingkong said that mother-to-child was a "possible route of coronavirus transmission" which needed to be paid attention to.

While this could be a potential pathway for transmission, it might not always be the case.

Recently, a pregnant woman infected with the coronavirus gave birth to a healthy baby in Heilongjiang province, reported China Daily.

The baby was delivered via cesarean section and tested negative twice after birth.

Babies vulnerable

Zeng also confirmed that babies were vulnerable to infection—on Jan. 31, the hospital revealed a second case involving a baby.

The baby was initially born healthy on Jan. 13. However, the baby's nanny was diagnosed with the virus, followed by the baby's mother, and the baby itself on Jan. 29.

Zeng said it was uncertain if the nanny was the one who passed the virus to the mother who then passed it to the baby. He added though, that it was confirmed that the baby had been in close contact with infected patients.

Thankfully, none of the infected infants currently in the hospital are in critical condition.

On Feb. 5, Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed that the Republic's 28th nCoV case was that of a six-month-old.

The baby boy's parents were both confirmed cases as well.

He is currently warded in an isolation room at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH).

Top photo from Unsplash