What does the Covid-19 coronavirus have in common with the guy who talks about his genital itch during a dinner party? Both don’t know boundaries.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) can go well beyond the lungs. And now a case report in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal suggests that the SARS-CoV2 can cross yet another boundary: the placental boundary during pregnancy. In other words, if you are infected with the virus, you could potentially transmit the SARS-CoV2 to your fetus through the womb, assuming, of course, that you are pregnant. If you are not pregnant, but somehow have a fetus, see your doctor immediately.
For the case report, a team (Julide Sisman, MD, Mambarambath A. Jaleel, MD, Wilmer Moreno, MD, Veena Rajaram, MD, Rebecca R.J. Collins, MD, Rashmin C. Savani, MBChB, Dinesh Rakheja, MD, and Amanda S. Evans, MD) from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center described what happened to a 37-year-old woman who was 34 weeks pregnant and was admitted to the hospital for pre-term labor. The pregnancy was a bit complicated as the woman had maternal Class B diabetes mellitus, obesity, and late latent syphilis. A cotton-swab-far-up-her-nose test was positive for SARS-CoV-2. Doctors then placed the woman on isolation to keep others from getting the virus.
As soon as the infant was born, doctors quickly separated the infant from the mother. Of course, normally you want some bonding time, time for the mother to say “what’s up” to the infant. But in this case, doctors wanted to prevent the infant from getting infected with the SARS-CoV2.
During that first day of life, the baby didn’t seem to have any problems breathing. By sticking cotton swabs, very little ones, up the infant’s nose, the doctors got samples at the 24 and 48 hour marks of her life and tested the samples for the SARS-CoV2. They all turned out to be positive. Not positive in a good way, but positive for the virus.
As Ferris Bueller once said, life moves at you pretty fast. Day two for the infant wasn’t nearly as cool or “lit” as day one. She developed a fever and difficulty breathing. The oxygen content in her blood dropped from close to 100% all the way down to 78%. The doctors placed the infant on some supplemental oxygen. Since this happened on day two and not day one, it didn’t seem related to her pre-mature birth.
Doctors also checked the infant’s long-time roommate, or womb-mate, for evidence of the virus. Indeed, examining samples of the placenta under an electron microscope revealed things that looked like viral particles. Labeled antibodies to the SARS-CoV2 stuck to different parts of the sample too. This strongly suggested that the infant had gotten infected through the placenta.
Fortunately, the infant’s breathing problems only lasted three days. On her fifth day of life, she no longer required oxygen, supplemental oxygen, that is, as humans still need oxygen. Eventually both the mother and daughter went home on the infant’s 21st day of life. Not a great way to start life together but at least both seemed in good health when leaving the hospital. Now they only have to deal with everything else that 2020 is offering.
As the authors of the case report indicated, this isn’t the first report of infants probably getting the Covid-19 coronavirus from their mothers through the womb. It’s not clear how common such transmission occurs, but so far it seems rare. There is certainly “womb” for more studies on the transmission of the Covid-19 coronavirus during pregnancy and what may happen to the fetus/infact.
Nonetheless, this is yet another reason to take extra precautions when you are pregnant. As the following Good Morning America segment shows, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report had found that pregnant women may be more likely to suffer more severe illness when infected with the Covid-19 coronavirus:
So, if you are pregnant, make sure that you practice good social distancing. Again that’s staying at least one Ryan Gosling (who is about six feet tall) away from others at all time. To be even safer, you may want to keep at least two Goslings away. Keep in mind that a Gosling is lying Gosling on the floor and not a standing one.
If you get invited to a Covid-19 party, say sorry but not sorry. This is not the time to play the Covid-19 roulette. Actually, you never want to play the Covid-19 roulette.
Always, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Disinfect any thing that may have been touched by other people. Of course, don’t be an adult infant and put the disinfectants in your mouth or into or on your body.
Make sure that you are followed by a doctor. Not followed in a “is that my doctor in the car behind me” sense. But followed in terms of having proper pre-natal visits, exams, and testing. This testing should include tests for Covid-19, because after all testing is going so well and everyone can get one whenever they want in the U.S., right?
This Covid-19 coronavirus is proving to be quite rude and seems to be crossing different boundaries and expectations. It’s not behaving like other respiratory viruses. For those of you who still think that it’s like the flu, it’s not the flu. That’s why you have to be even more careful when thinking for two.