Objective To examine infants in Scotland aged 0-27 days with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection; the risk of neonatal infection by factors including maternal infection status and gestation at birth; and the need for hospital admission among infected neonates.

Design Population-based cohort study.

Setting and population All live births in Scotland, 1 March 2020 to 31 January 2022.

Results There were 141 neonates with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection over the study period, giving an overall infection rate of 153 per 100,000 live births (141/92,009). Among infants born to women with confirmed infection around the time of birth, the infection rate was 1,811 per 100,000 live births (15/828). Nearly two-thirds (92/141, 65.2%) of babies with confirmed neonatal infection had an associated admission to neonatal or (more commonly) paediatric care. Of those admitted to hospital, 6/92 (6.5%) infants were admitted to neonatal or paediatric intensive care, however none of these six had COVID-19 recorded as the main diagnosis underlying their admission. There were no neonatal deaths among babies with confirmed infection.

Implications and relevance Confirmed neonatal SARS-CoV-2 infection is uncommon. Secular trends in the neonatal infection rate broadly follow those seen in the general population, albeit at a lower level. Maternal infection at birth increases the risk of neonatal infection, but most babies with neonatal infection are born to women without confirmed infection. A high proportion of neonates with confirmed infection are admitted to hospital, with resulting implications for the baby, family, and services, although their outcomes are generally good.


The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted medRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Cite as

Goulding, A., McQuaid, F., Lindsay, L., Agrawal, U., Auyeung, B., Calvert, C., Carruthers, J., Denny, C., Donaghy, J., Hillman, S., Hopcroft, L., Hopkins, L., McCowan, C., McLaughlin, T., Moore, E., Richie, L., Simpson, C., Taylor, B., Fenton, L., Pollock, L., Gale, C., Kurinczuk, J., Robertson, C., Sheikh, A., Stock, S. & Wood, R. 2022, 'Confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in Scottish neonates 2020-2022: a national, population-based cohort study [pre-print]'. To be published in medRxiv [Preprint]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.07.28.22278152

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Last updated: 25 July 2023
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