TUESDAY, Nov. 1, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence rates of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, hospitalization, and mortality are low for infants exposed to SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy, according to a study published online Nov. 1 in Pediatrics.
Lucas Gosdin, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Emergency Response in Atlanta, and colleagues describe weighted estimates of infant outcomes from birth through age 6 months using a cohort of liveborn infants from pregnancies with SARS-CoV-2 infection in 2020 from 10 U.S. jurisdictions.
The researchers found that 1.0, 19.1, and 80.0 percent of the 6,601 exposed infants tested positive, tested negative, and were not known to be tested for SARS-CoV-2, respectively. SARS-CoV-2 infection among those ≤14 days of age occurred only with maternal infection ≤14 days before delivery. Breastmilk feeding initiation was lower when maternal infection occurred ≤14 versus >14 days before delivery among 3,967 infants with medical record abstraction (77.6 versus 88.3 percent). All-cause hospitalization was 4.1 percent at six months. Infants born to women with infection ≤14 days before delivery had higher all-cause mortality than those born to women with infection >14 days before delivery (1.0 versus 0.3 percent).
"Despite the lack of an association with poor infant health outcomes, COVID-19 may pose a larger threat to infants through more immediate impacts of severe disease experienced by pregnant people and preterm birth," the authors write. "Given a lack of vaccination and treatment options available to infants, strategies to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection throughout pregnancy and postpartum should be implemented."