Background: The impact of SARS-CoV-2 on neonates remains largely unknown in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We provide an epidemiologic and clinical report of SARS-CoV-2 infections in neonates hospitalized in Bangladesh. Methods: Outborn neonates admitted to Dhaka Shishu Hospital, a tertiary-care referral hospital, between 29 March and 1 July were screened for SARS-CoV-2. We reviewed clinical data, including chest radiograph and laboratory reports, and conducted SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing. Patients were followed-up for 27–75 days. A subset of caregivers was also tested. Results: Of 83 neonates tested, 26 were positive (median age 8 days). Most neonates were admitted with diagnosis unrelated to SARS-CoV-2: 11 presented with serious non-communicable diseases, 7 with early-onset sepsis, 5 with late-onset sepsis and 2 with pneumonia. In 3 of 5 chest radiograph, infiltrates and ground-glass or patchy opacities were noted. Two neonates developed metabolic acidosis, one developed disseminated intravascular coagulation. Most SARS-CoV-2 positive neonates were referred to government-designated COVID-19 hospitals, leading to gaps in treatment. Twenty-three neonates could be followed-up: 12 were healthy, 8 died and 3 were still seeking medical care. Of 9 caregivers tested, 8 were positive. Conclusions: SARS-CoV-2 may have serious adverse effects on children born in LMICs. The virus likely contributed directly to two deaths, but the remaining 6 neonates who died had serious comorbidities. Positive SARS-CoV-2 test results led to gaps in immediate clinical care for other morbidities, which likely contributed to adverse outcomes. This case series emphasizes the need to understand COVID-19 in neonates in LMICs and its indirect impacts.
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Saha, S., Ahmed, N., Sarkar, P., Bipul, M., Ghosh, K., Rahman, S., Rahman, H., Hooda, Y., Ahsan, N., Malaker, R., Sajib, M., Islam, M., Anik, A., Saha, S., Kanon, N., Islam, I., Hamer, D., Amin, R., Shahidullah, M. & Saha, S. 2020, 'The direct and indirect impact of SARS-CoV-2 infections on neonates: a series of 26 cases in Bangladesh', Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 39(12), pp. e398-e405. https://doi.org/10.1097/INF.0000000000002921