This observational study done during April–December 2020 at a tertiary-care hospital in Haryana (India) enrolled 152 SARS-CoV-2-exposed neonates.
Among them, 150 neonates had perinatal SARS-CoV-2 exposure and 2 neonates had late postnatal exposure.
Stable infant-mother dyads were roomed-in with precautions to support breastfeeding.
Nasopharyngeal swabs collected from neonates were tested for SARS-CoV-2 by reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test. There was a high incidence of prematurity (23%), low birth weight (31%), intrauterine fetal distress (16%), perinatal asphyxia (6%), admission to neonatal intensive care unit (24%), and mortality (1.3%) among neonates with perinatal SARS-CoV-2 exposure. In this sub-group, 20 neonates tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in nasopharyngeal swab sample(s).
A recent official publication by the World Health Organization emphasizes that the perinatal SARS-CoV-2-exposed neonates found RT-PCR positive once in upper respiratory (non-sterile) sample must document viral persistence in another non-sterile sample for confirmation of mother-to-child virus transmission.
With this approach, only one neonate was confirmed intrapartum transmission. A telephonic follow-up in discharged neonates at 1 month of age or 1 month postexposure recorded them all to be asymptomatic and doing well.