Researchers have identified a total of four cases of newborn babies with COVID-19 infection in China. In all cases, the babies experienced only mild symptoms with none requiring intensive care or mechanical ventilation according to research published in the European Respiratory Journal today (April 9, 2020).
The study was carried out by Dr. Zhi-Jiang Zhang and colleagues at Wuhan University in China. The team report that all four babies were born to mothers with COVID-19 and all were delivered by cesarean section. Three were separated from their mothers at birth.
The researchers say the rapid spread of the infection may mean there are other cases of newborns with COVID-19 that they were not able to track down.
Dr. Zhang said: “COVID-19 is highly contagious and our study suggests that intrauterine transmission cannot be ruled out, but that the prognosis is good for both pregnant women and newborn babies.”
Professor Tobias Welte is an infections expert from the European Respiratory Society and is a coordinator for the national German COVID-19 task force and was not involved in the study. He said: “It’s important to protect pregnant women and newborn babies against infection. It’s also important that any cases of COVID-19 in newborns are picked up, monitored and treated quickly and carefully. At this stage we still do not know whether there are any longer-term consequences of infection.”
Reference: “Novel coronavirus infection in newborn babies aged <28 days in China” by Zhi-Jiang Zhang, Xue-Jie Yu, Tao Fu, Yu Liu, Yan Jiang, Bing Xiang Yang and Yongyi Bi, 9 April 2020, European Respiratory Journal.