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Infants of COVID-19-Infected Mothers Doing Well in Short Term

No differences seen in rates of preterm birth, NICU admission, respiratory disease with infection

MONDAY, Sept. 28, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Infants born to mothers testing positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) do not have a higher frequency of adverse outcomes than those born to mothers testing negative, according to a brief report published online Sept. 18 in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Valerie J. Flaherman, M.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues assessed infant outcomes after maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection. The analysis included 179 mothers who had a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 and 84 mothers who had a negative test for SARS-CoV-2. Clinical and demographic data were collected from mothers at enrollment, after birth, and at six to eight weeks after delivery, with infant medical records confirming maternal report.

The researchers found that of the 179 mothers testing positive, 81.6 percent were symptomatic, while 63.1 percent of those testing negative were symptomatic. Seventeen percent of infants were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), some for fast breathing or difficulty breathing (11 percent) and apnea (1.6 percent). No differences were seen in rates of preterm birth, NICU admission, or respiratory disease with infection for infants of mothers testing positive compared with infants of mothers testing negative. Among 77 infants born to mothers who first tested positive 0 to 14 days prior to delivery, 26 percent were admitted to the NICU versus 12.2 percent of 82 born to mothers who first tested positive >14 days prior to delivery. Infants with mothers who first tested positive 0 to 14 days prior to delivery were also born earlier versus infants whose mothers first tested positive >14 days prior to delivery (mean, 37.5 versus 39 weeks of gestation). No pneumonia or lower respiratory tract infection was reported through 6 to 8 weeks of age. Among infants of mothers who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the estimated incidence of a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 was 1.1 percent.

“These results are reassuring and suggest that infants born to mothers infected with SARS-CoV-2 generally do well in the first six to eight weeks after birth,” the authors write.

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