Newborns Could Develop Fetal Inflammatory Syndrome From Moth
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Throughout the pandemic, doctors have found that pregnant women who contract COVID-19 may be able to pass the infection to their babies. In a new case study, doctors report that newborns could develop a fetal inflammatory response syndrome associated with the virus. In more than 95% of cases, if the mother gets infected, she does well and the baby does well, too.

In the case report, pediatricians describe a case of fetal inflammatory response syndrome, or FIRS. The 32-year-old mother, who went into labor prematurely at 34 weeks, showed up at the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms and tested positive for the virus. She also had severe preeclampsia.

The baby was delivered quickly and required mechanical ventilation. He had a fever, neonatal respiratory distress syndrome and elevated levels of several inflammatory markers. He tested negative for COVID-19 twice, as well as other infectious diseases. The baby received an antibiotic for seven days and a platelet transfusion for low platelet counts.

Ventilation was removed after the fifth day, and he began recovering at the hospital. He was discharged after 22 days with no follow-up required beyond standard prematurity care. FIRS has been documented in premature births, and this case lacked some of the typical abnormalities such as umbilical cord inflammation or placental insufficiency.

However, the high inflammatory levels indicated some vascular damage and multi-organ issues, which the authors attribute to exposure to the mother's COVID-19 infection during pregnancy. The fetal inflammatory response appeared similar to the hyperinflammatory syndrome seen in children during the pandemic, which has been called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C.

The low platelet counts, in particular, could indicate an inflammatory response associated with COVID-19, the authors write. Several blood and platelet abnormalities have been documented in COVID-19 cases and MIS-C. As the pandemic continues, doctors should monitor platelet counts in newborns with inflammation, the authors suggest, especially if they may have been exposed to COVID-19. In this case, platelet counts stabilized after a transfusion.

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