CDC advises all babies born to COVID-19 positive or suspected mothers be tested for the infection
- The CDC is advising that newborns be separated from mothers who have confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus
- Babies should be tested within the first 24 hours and can be reunited with their mothers if the women test negative
- Infants are not required to have a negative coronavirus test in order to be discharged from the hospital
- Newborns are at a higher risk of contracting a severe case of the virus because their immune systems are not yet fully developed and they have smaller airways
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidelines on Wednesday, recommending all babies born to women with confirmed or suspected coronavirus infections be tested for the disease.
Although such cases are rare, infants are at greater risk of contracting serious cases of the virus in comparison with older children.
This is because their immune systems are not yet fully developed and they have smaller airways, which makes them more likely to suffer from breathing problems.
However, very few studies have been performed on babies’ risks and doctors are often making medical decisions baed on anecdotal reports.
he CDC is advising that newborns be separated from mothers who have confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus. Pictured: Diana Garcia Garcia hold her baby, Danaey, for the first time at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital in Oceanside, New York, as her husband, Manuel Carchipulla, who tested positive for coronavirus, watches, April 28
Babies should be tested within the first 24 hours and can be reunited with their mothers if the women test negative (file image)
According to the CDC, newborns can become infected either through respiratory droplets from their mother during childbirth or exposure to sick staff or visitors after delivery.
There is currently no evidence that COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, can reach a baby via the umbilical cord.
The CDC recommends that infants be tested within the first 24 hours, and be isolated from other babies that already tested negative.
Health officials also recommend that the babies be isolated from their mothers until the women test negative.
If newborns do contract the virus, many experience the same symptoms as adults such as coughing, fever, diarrhea and shortness of breath.
But there have been some case reports of babies needing to placed on ventilators.
In a Chinese study of 2,143 children with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 from late December to early February, more than 10 percent of infants had severe or critical illness.
Comparatively, rates were seven percent for children from ages one to five, about four percent for kids between ages six and 10, and seven percent for children 11 years old or older.
The CDC adds that newborns don’t need a negative coronavirus test to be discharged from the hospital.
However, there is some fear that mothers who do have coronavirus may have premature babies that will need to be placed in NICUs.
Early in the pandemic, two small studies found that half of all pregnant women infected with coronavirus deliver their babies early and they may even pass the disease to their newborns.
In one study, researchers from China examined 33 newborns whose mothers had COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, while pregnant.
Nearly 10 percent of the babies – three of them – were found to have the virus – including one that needed to be put on mechanical ventilation.
In the second study, looking at 32 pregnant women from China and Hong Kong, researchers found that 47 percent delivered their babies prematurely.