Covid-19: about a third of infected babies contracted it from their mother

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In a study of 176 newborns positive for Covid-19, French researchers observed that 30% of them were infected by their mothers.

In a new study, published in the journal Nature Communications, a team of researchers from Assistance publique des Hospitals in Paris analyzed infections with the new coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 found in newborns.

The researchers analyzed 176 reported cases of coronavirus infection in infants younger than 30 days old and tested positive using a PCR test (nasopharyngeal swab) or a serological test (looking for antibodies in the blood).

The scientists found that 70% of cases were due to environmental exposure to the coronavirus, in other words, through its close companions. On the other hand, in 30% of the cases the transmission of the virus would have been vertical, that is, from mother to child. In 9% of the 176 cases, transmission would have occurred even before or during delivery.

Among the 176 babies who tested positive for the coronavirus, 55% actually developed Covid-19 disease, with clinical symptoms similar to those reported in older patients, namely respiratory problems (in 52% of cases), fever (44 %), gastrointestinal (36%) and neurological (18%) problems. Pulmonary images were abnormal 64% of the time.

By looking at infections that occurred at least 72 hours after birth, the authors found that newborns who were left in a crib near their mother in the hospital, in the same room, appeared to be at increased risk of coronavirus infection. Therefore, scientists believe that hygiene measures (hand washing) and protective equipment (use of mask, visor) should be implemented to protect babies. However, breastfeeding has not been associated with an increased risk of Sars-CoV-2 infection in newborns, so it should not be discouraged.

Note that the World Health Organization continues to favor breastfeeding in this pandemic period, because the benefit-risk balance would be largely favorable, this method of feeding the baby being very profitable for its present and future life.

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