In a dangerous new development, it seems that the highly contagious Wuhan novel coronavirus can not only be transmitted from humans-to-humans, touching infected surfaces, eyes, and even feces. To that lengthy list, the virus is apparently now able to be transmitted in the womb from an infected woman to her unborn child, according to Reuters.
This comes after Chinese state media television CCTV announced that doctors from the Wuhan Children Hospital have discovered that a newborn infant, which was born from a coronavirus patient, tested positive for the virus just 30 hours after its birth. The baby was born on 2nd February 2020.
While the baby has so far shown stable vital signs without any fever or coughing, it has displayed a notable difficulty in breathing. X-rays of the baby’s chest showed that there were signs of infection, and that there were abnormalities in the baby’s liver.
‘This reminds us to pay attention to a potential new transmission route of the coronavirus – vertical transmission from mothers to babies,’ said Dr Zeng Lingkong, chief physician from the hospital’s Department of Neonatal Medicine.
They have also disclosed a separate incident, where an infected baby who was born healthy on 13th January 2020 wound up showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus on 29th January 2020. The baby then proceeded to infect both its nanny and its mother, who both tested positive.
However, in a separate update from The Guardian, other experts warn that this method of transmission is still unproven. Paul Hunter, professor in medicine, at the University of East Anglia, says that while the baby has tested positive for the virus, there is no telling whether it was infected in the womb, or during the birth process itself.
Given the many varied methods of transmission that we have seen and heard so far, it is highly advisable that everyone take the necessary precautions in order to prevent the further spreading of the novel coronavirus, or indeed any viruses at all. Always adopt good hygiene habits, and wear a mask when going out!
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