Can mother transmit virus to baby? | Updated: 2020-03-06 07:30
Medical staff go over plans to treat an baby girl born to a COVID-19 infected woman in Chongqing. [Photo provided to]

An infant tested positive for the novel coronavirus only 36 hours after being born to an infected mother in Wuhan earlier in February. The news left pregnant women worrying about their unborn babies.

Up to now, there have been no cases, including among SARS and MERS patients, proving newborn coronavirus transmission, according to Liu Zhaofen, a researcher with the Chinese Preventive Medicine Association.

The infection of the Wuhan infant is still under investigation and the possibility of respiratory transmission has not been excluded.

A pathogen can infect the fetus through placenta during pregnancy or through blood to a baby's broken skin or mucous membranes during delivery.

A study published on the Lancet on Feb 12 cited nine pregnant novel coronavirus cases, all giving birth to living and uninfected infants.

Mother-to-child transmission is still unproven as there are not enough clinical cases yet. Newborn infants should be quarantined for at least 14 days and avoid breast milk.

Despite this, trying to conceive is not recommended during the epidemic as pregnant women are more vulnerable to the pathogen. If infected, a pregnant woman must take medicines which is good for the fetus.

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