Though close contact with a person with the infection increases the risk of virus transmission, many newborns were found to have adequate immunity against the infection. As on Sunday, 24,835 children up to the age of 12 years have tested positive.
Pointing to the very low number of cases where newborn babies were tested positive, Dr S Srinivasan, State Neonatal Intensive Care Unit coordinator said the risk of transmission from mother to babies was very low. According to him, only about two per cent newborns of the total number of deliveries at government hospitals in the State tested positive.
Dr Mohan Kumar, paediatrician at Institute of Child Health, Egmore, said children born with comorbidities of the heart and pulmonary issues contract the infection easily. But healthy babies born to COVID-19 positive mother tested negative for the virus.
Health experts said that early and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact, rooming-in and kangaroo mother care significantly improve neonatal survival, increases weight and reduces morbidity.
“It is recommended that even mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be encouraged to initiate or continue breastfeeding. Mothers should be counselled that the benefits of breastfeeding substantially outweigh the potential risk of vertical transmission. The presence of IgA in breast milk is one of the ways in which breastfeeding protects infants against infection and death. Children appear to be at low risk of COVID-19; most have experienced only mild or asymptomatic illness,” added Dr Jothi Clara, director of nursing at Gleneagles Global Hospitals