Health

COVID-19: Two newborns in Odisha are positive, but their parents are not

Doctors suspect that two newborns in Odisha’s Berhampur could have caught COVID-19 through the air

 
By Hrusikesh Mohanty
Published: Thursday 13 May 2021
The pediatric ward of the Berhampur hospital where the two babies are being treated. Photo: Hrusikesh Mohanty
The pediatric ward of the Berhampur hospital where the two babies are being treated. Photo: Hrusikesh Mohanty The pediatric ward of the Berhampur hospital where the two babies are being treated. Photo: Hrusikesh Mohanty

At least two babies, both less than a month old, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at the MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Odisha’s Berhampur, despite their parents not being infected, doctors said.

An 11-day-old baby boy was admitted to the pediatric ward of the medical college May 10, 2021, sources said. A 16-day-old baby boy was admitted May 13, 2021.

The 16-day-old infant, whose family is from a village near Golanthara in Ganjam district, was born in a private hospital in Berhampur April 27. The other baby, whose family hails from a village near Bhanjangar in the same district, was born at the government-run sub divisional hospital, Bhanjanagar April 29.

Sunil Kumar Agrawal, associate professor at the pediatric department of the medical college, said:

Both babies displayed symptoms similar to COVID-19 infection such as inactiveness, mild fever and cough. Hence, we suggested that both infants and their parents be tested using antigen COVID-19 tests.

The parents of both babies tested negative for COVID-19, while the infants tested positive, Agrawal said. The parents had not been COVID-19 positive earlier as well, he added.

Health officials were trying to understand as to how the babies tested positive even though their parents tested negative.

“The parents told us that no other person handles the babies. The infants could not have come in contact with any other persons, except the parents and medical staff. Hence, we suspect their infection might be air-borne,” Agrawal said.

However, more investigation was needed in this regard, he said, especially contact tracing.

He also ruled out going for an RT-PCR test of the parents of the babies to confirm mother-to-child transmission: “The parents have no symptoms of COVID-19. Hence, an RT-PCR test is not necessary.”

Both babies were undergoing treatment in isolation at the Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) in the medical college and their condition was good, the doctor said. “We are giving them supportive treatment,” he added.

The hospital has also decided to perform COVID-19 antigen tests on babies and their parents, especially suspected cases, in the coming days, Agrawal said. 

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