Newborn tests positive for coronavirus & it's unclear when infection happened

youngest to test positive for coronavirus
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In February, we shared the case of a baby in Wuhan, China, who tested positive for the novel coronavirus 30 hours after being born. That baby's mother was infected with COVID-19 herself and the case brought up concerns of mother-to-womb transmission. However, since the baby was tested 30 hours after being born, it is impossible to say whether it was born already having had the virus, contracted it during birth, or was exposed to it after birth. Now, we have another concerning case to share of a baby born in England who tested positive for COVID-19, not hours, but just minutes after being born.

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That makes this newborn the youngest person in the world to test positive for COVID-19. In this case, it's also unclear if the baby was born with the virus or contracted it while being born. What is known is that the newborn's mother was hospitalized just days before giving birth with symptoms of pneumonia. COVID-19 is in the family of coronaviruses, which can cause bronchitis and pneumonia. Keep reading for more details.

The newborn’s mother was hospitalized days before the baby was born.

The newborn’s mother was hospitalized days before the baby was born.

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She had symptoms of pneumonia and was taken to a hospital in London to be treated. She was tested for the coronavirus, but did not get the results until after the baby was born. She did indeed test positive for COVID-19, which explains her pneumonia symptoms.  

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The baby was tested minutes after being born.

As you know, the baby also tested positive for COVID-19. The thing is that even though the baby was tested so soon after being born, it isn’t known whether the baby already had coronavirus while in the womb or was infected during the birthing process. If there is any good news to this story, it is that the baby appears to be out of danger.

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The mother and child have been separated.

Since delivering the baby, the mother has been transferred to a different hospital that specializes in infections. The baby remains at North Middlesex University Hospital, which released the following statement: “Two patients at North Middlesex university hospital have tested positive for coronavirus. One has been transferred to a specialist center and one is being treated in an isolation room.”

What does this mean for pregnant or nursing mothers with coronavirus?

Keep in mind that this virus is new and there is still so much to learn about it. So far, from the limited research that has been done, there has been no evidence of virus found in amniotic fluid or breast milk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The best thing pregnant women can do to protect themselves and the babies they are expecting is to follow the same best practices as everyone else to avoid the spread of infection. Things like:

  • Covering your cough using your elbow
  • Avoiding sick people
  • Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using alcohol-based sanitizer when soap and water aren’t an option
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What is the hospital doing to prevent the spread of the virus?

“The safety of our patients and staff is our top priority, so in following guidance from Public Health England, we are regularly deep cleaning the areas where the patients are cared for and staff who were in close contact with these patients were advised to self-isolate,” Britain's National Health Service said in its statement. It’s not enough for hospitals to care for patients who are infected, they also have to work hard to stop the spread of the virus. We all have to work hard to stop the spread of the virus.

Topics: babies  diseases