Newborn Triplets Test Positive for Coronavirus, but Parents Test Negative

The triplets were born on June 17 in the central Mexican state of San Luis Potosí  

babies with COVID-19
A nurse wears personal protective equipment while examining a baby. Photo: Ricardo Castelan Cruz / Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty

Newborn triplets in Mexico tested positive for the coronavirus on the day they were born, but their parents tested negative in a case that health officials have said is “unheard of.”

The triplets were born prematurely on June 17 in the central Mexican state of San Luis Potosí and got tested just four hours after their birth, Mexican health officials told CNN.

The three babies are “stable” and “evolving favorably,” Potosí's Health Secretary Monica Rangel said during a press conference Thursday. One has developed a respiratory infection but was “responding well to antibiotics,” she added, according to CNN.

Health authorities are investigating several potential explanations, including the possibilities that the virus was transmitted at some point during the mother’s pregnancy.

"What we need to look at is a situation where perhaps [the virus] is being transmitted through the placenta,” Rangel said. “That's not something that we can be sure of. Those are theories that we have to look at. It's a new virus. There still is not literature available internationally on this issue, but it will be worth reviewing."

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"Now that we have the negative result of the PCR tests done on both parents, the case it's even more relevant, not only for the investigation our doctors in the state are doing but for the worldwide research on the behavior of the virus itself," Rangel said in a Facebook post.

The CDC has said that mother-to-child transmission of COVID-19 during pregnancy is “unlikely,” but that newborns can still be infected after birth either from their mother or from other caregivers.

Limited published reports indicate that a “small number of babies” have tested positive for the virus shortly after birth, but that children are not at a higher risk than adults, and that the majority of cases to date are adults, according to the CDC.

Though it is rare, deaths of infants have also been attributed to the virus, including a 6-week-old Connecticut baby who died after testing positive in late March.

“We believe this is one of the youngest lives lost anywhere due to complications relating to COVID-19,” Gov. Ned Lamont said at the time.

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