The baby’s mother had tested positive for coronavirus before giving birth

By Julie Mazziotta
February 06, 2020 03:40 PM
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A newborn baby in China has tested positive for coronavirus just 30 hours after he or she was born, becoming the youngest case yet, according to state media.

The baby’s mother had tested positive for coronavirus before giving birth on Feb. 2, and the child was tested for the deadly respiratory illness 30 hours later.

The baby, who was born at a healthy 7 lbs. 2 oz., is in stable condition and under observation, according to state media outlet Xinhua, BBC News reported. The newborn does not have a fever or cough, but chest x-rays showed signs of an infection and the child is has shortness of breath, along with problems with liver function, doctors at Wuhan Children Hospital told state broadcaster CCTV.

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Doctors were unsure if the baby contracted coronavirus in the womb or once born.

“This reminds us to pay attention to mother-to-child being a possible route of coronavirus transmission,” said Zeng Lingkong, the chief physician of Wuhan Children Hospital’s neonatal medicine department, according to Reuters.

The hospital said they had also seen another newborn with coronavirus. The child was born healthy on Jan. 13, but developed coronavirus symptoms on Jan. 29, after the baby’s nanny and mother both contracted the disease.

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“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. 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,” Zeng said.

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There are now 28,353 cases of coronavirus worldwide, with almost all occurring in mainland China. Chinese citizens also account for the majority of the deaths — 565 — with just two coming from outside mainland China, in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

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So far, very few children have developed coronavirus, which is primarily affecting people between 49 and 56 years old. Several researchers working on coronavirus testing told The New York Times that any children who are getting infected likely develop a “milder” case of the disease. The majority — 80 percent — of the deaths have occurred in people who are 60 or older, and they tend to have preexisting conditions.

There have been 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., and no fatalities. A 35-year-old man in Seattle, who was the first reported case in the U.S., has recovered and is now at home.

 

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