HealthDay News — Three of 33 neonates born to mothers with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Wuhan tested positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) , according to a research letter published online March 26 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Lingkong Zeng, MD, from Wuhan Children’s Hospital in China, and colleagues reviewed the medical records of 33 neonates born to mothers with COVID-19 to examine demographic, epidemiological, and clinical features. Nasopharyngeal and anal swab samples were used for SARS-CoV-2 testing.

The researchers identified 3 neonates with COVID-19; 4 of 33 had shortness of breath. Patient 1 experienced lethargy and fever on day 2 of life, with unremarkable physical examination. Pneumonia was seen on chest radiographic imaging, but other laboratory tests were normal. Swabs were positive for SARS-CoV-2 on days 2 and 4 and negative on day 6. Patient 2 presented with lethargy, vomiting, and fever. Pneumonia was seen on chest radiographic imaging. Swabs were positive on days 2 and 4 and negative on day 6. Patient 3 was born at 31 weeks and 2 days of gestation via cesarean delivery due to fetal distress. Resuscitation was needed, and chest radiographic imaging on admission confirmed neonatal respiratory distress syndrome and pneumonia. Swabs for SARS-CoV-2 were positive on days 2 and 4 and negative on day 7.

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“The vertical maternal-fetal transmission cannot be ruled out in the current cohort,” the authors write. “Therefore, it is crucial to screen pregnant women and implement strict infection control measures, quarantine of infected mothers, and close monitoring of neonates at risk of COVID-19.”

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