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Mother-to-child transmission of disease, also known as vertical transmission, can occur during pregnancy. Several viruses, including hepatitis B, herpes varicella-zoster (chickenpox), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), can be passed via vertical transmission. A recent report indicates that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is not transmittable from pregnant mothers to their infants at birth.
The report describes the clinical course of four live-born, full-term infants born to pregnant women who tested positive for COVID-19 in Wuhan, China. Three of the four infants did not test positive for the virus (the mother of the fourth infant did not provide consent for testing).
None of the infants manifested clinical signs of COVID-19, such as respiratory or gastrointestinal problems, but two had mild rashes at birth. One of the infants developed breathing problems but responded to non-invasive mechanical ventilation.
Although three of the four infants described in the report were born via Cesarean section, one was born vaginally and did not test positive for the virus. All the infants were isolated after birth and formula-fed.
The authors of the report collected placenta, amniotic fluid, neonatal blood, gastric fluid, and anal swab samples from the infants for further study.
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