A baby born with coronavirus in Texas is thought to have contacted the virus in the womb, according to the doctors. The baby girl was taken into intensive care as soon as she was born because her mother tested positive for covid19. Doctors say the baby had a high fever and suffered breathing problems at the time of birth and was eventually tested positive for the virus a day after she was born.
The doctors believe that this case is the strongest evidence that coronavirus can be transmitted in the womb. Scientists after examining the mother’s placenta concluded that it had traces of coronavirus. Some Italian scientists found strong evidence of transmission in the womb last week as traces of covid19 were detected in the umbilical cord blood and placenta.
Doctors have questioned whether a baby can catch the virus during pregnancy since the start of the pandemic and they are now studying the few cases that can be found. Some common viruses that can infect a fetus include Zika and HIV and now the scientists believe that covid19 could also infect a fetus, having already killed more than half a million people around the globe.
China had several early reports suggesting that there is a possibility of a baby born with coronavirus but the doctors believed that it is extremely difficult to find out if the baby was born with the virus or picked it during/after the birth. Previously, scientists thought that there were chances of transmission of covid19 in the womb.
Dr. Amanda Evans, one of the authors of the study published in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, said that many infants have been delivered by women diagnosed with Covid19 but the majority of the babies didn’t show any respiratory illness or traces of covid19. She said that this is the first case study to record the transmission of the virus within the uterus during pregnancy.
The unnamed baby girl was born prematurely at 34 weeks because her mother had premature rupture of membranes (PROM), which is the opening of amniotic sac before labor begins. 40 percent of the babies born prematurely are due to PROM, which is a condition caused by an infection. However, it is still not clear whether it was caused by the coronavirus.
Due to her mother’s condition called gestational diabetes, the baby was born large for her age. When she was taken to the intensive care unit, she appeared to be healthy other than being preterm. But doctors didn’t reject the possibility that the baby may have been exposed to covid19 due to her mother.
After the baby was born, on the same day, doctors discovered that the vitals of the baby had changed. She developed a mild fever and also had some difficulty breathing. The doctors concluded that respiratory distress in the baby was not due to preterm birth as it did not start for 24 hours. The baby was treated with additional oxygen but mechanical ventilation was not required.
The baby born with coronavirus and her mother was sent home after 21 days in good condition. Tissue inflammation and coronavirus traces were found in the placenta of the mother by the researchers. Together these findings suggest that the virus was transmitted in the womb rather than after/during birth.