A Chinese baby was diagnosed with the so-called novel coronavirus just 30 hours after birth this week, becoming the youngest patient to contract the illness and the first suspected case of a mother-to-child transmission, China’s state-run media reported Wednesday.
The infant’s mother had tested positive for the virus before giving birth at a hospital in Wuhan, the epicenter of the deadly outbreak, according to the Xinhua News Agency. The baby was listed in stable condition and was under observation Wednesday.
The pneumonia-like illness — which has been compared with SARS, another type of coronavirus that killed hundreds of people in China in the early 2000s — has been spreading from person to person since it was first discovered in Wuhan in December. Experts believe the most vulnerable patients are older people with weaker immune systems.
Some younger patients have been diagnosed with the virus in recent weeks, but the Wuhan infant is the first newborn to contract the disease, raising fears that pregnant women may transmit the illness to their unborn children.
Chinese authorities said the virus has killed nearly 500 people and sickened more than 24,000 others in China, where multiple cities are under a temporary lockdown. More than 20 other countries have confirmed cases in recent days, but only two deaths were reported outside mainland China — one in Hong Kong and another in the Philippines.
The U.S. has 11 confirmed cases across five states, but all patients are believed to be in good condition.
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