TUESDAY, April 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Neonates born to and separated from their severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2)-positive mothers at birth and fed unpasteurized expressed breast milk have no evidence of viral infection, according to a study published online April 13 in Pediatrics.
Noa Ofek Shlomai, M.D., from Hadassah and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and colleagues examined breastfeeding rates before and after discharge from the hospital among newborns with SARS-CoV-2-positive mothers. Symptomatic and high-risk mothers provided nasopharyngeal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 in the delivery room; mothers who were positive for SARS-CoV-2 were separated from their newborns. Newborns underwent screening within 48 hours. Before discharge, mothers were given anti-infectious guidelines.
During the three-month study period, the researchers identified 73 newborns of SARS-CoV-2-positive mothers born in Israel; 55 of these newborns participated in the study. Postdelivery, all neonates tested were negative for the virus. Overall, 74.5 percent of neonates were fed unpasteurized expressed breast milk during the postpartum separation until discharge. Most neonates (89 percent) were discharged following instruction of the mother in anti-infection measures. There were additional SARS-CoV-2-positive residents in 40 percent of households. Postdischarge, 85 percent of the newborns were breastfed. Of the 60 percent of newborns retested for SARS-CoV-2 postdischarge, all were negative.
"Neonates born to SARS-CoV-2-positive mothers can have an excellent prognosis," the authors write. "With all the neonates testing negative for SARS-CoV-2, ongoing separation after delivery appears unnecessary, as long as careful anti-infection measurements are taken."