A Louisiana newborn baby died of the coronavirus this week — after the illness caused the infected mom to give birth prematurely, according to a report.
The infant, who was delivered more than three months early, died Monday morning — and investigators concluded her death was a direct result of the mother’s COVID-19 diagnosis, East Baton Rouge Coroner Dr. Beau Clark said in a press release obtained by The Advocate newspaper.
Oxygen deficiency as a result of the respiratory infection is likely what caused the mom to go into premature labor, the coroner said.
Even if test results show the newborn did not contract the coronavirus herself, her cause of death would still be considered “COVID-related,” Clark said, according to the outlet.
Her mother remained hospitalized, and officials did not provide additional information on her condition.
No other cases have been reported of babies dying after premature birth due to coronavirus complications, the paper reported.
But a 9-month-old Illinois infant diagnosed with the illness died late last month, though the official cause of death is still pending.
And in Connecticut, a 6-week-old baby died of coronavirus complications.
Federal and Louisiana state officials are now investigating the Baton Rouge case — and whether the virus was transmitted from mother to child in the womb. If so, Clark said that it could have “huge ramifications” from a research perspective.
Studies conducted in China reveal that this “vertical transmission” of the illness from mother to child is possible, though rare.
“We really have limited pregnancy specific data on COVID-19, but we are learning more each day,” Renee Antoine, Louisiana’s maternal and child health director for the national organization March of Dimes told The Advocate.
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