Abstract

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.

Rights

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CCBY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Cite as

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

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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