5-day-old baby dies of Covid-19 in Indonesia's South Sulawesi

Recent evidence suggests that children likely have the same or higher viral loads in their nasopharynx as adults.
Recent evidence suggests that children likely have the same or higher viral loads in their nasopharynx as adults.PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A five-day-old baby has died of Covid-19 in Jeneponto, South Sulawesi.

The baby's mother initially had a reactive rapid test result, which led to both of them taking swab tests, which came back positive.

"The swab test results came back on Oct 13. The samples were examined by the laboratory of Wahidin Sudirohusodo Hospital, Makassar," said the head of disease prevention and control at Jeneponto Health Agency, Suryaningrat, on Saturday (Oct 17).

In June, a 40-day-old baby died in Tlanakan district, Pamekasan regency, East Java, after contracting Covid-19, believed to have been spread by neighbours who visited the newborn weeks ago.

The baby, who tested positive for the virus when he was 28 days old, died in Smart Pamekasan General Regional Hospital after nearly two weeks of treatment.

"Based on the contact tracing we carried out, the baby contracted Covid-19 from neighbours who visited him soon after he was born," Pamekasan regency Covid-19 task force chief Syaiful Hidayat said.

He said many visitors had held the baby. Soon after the visits, the baby showed symptoms of Covid-19, including a fever, coughing and laboured breathing.

The baby's parents took him to Smart Pamekasan Regional General Hospital on June 9 and he was immediately isolated by the healthcare workers at the hospital.

The Indonesian Pediatric Society (IDAI) revealed in June that at least 1,543 children in Indonesia had tested positive for Covid-19 since the country announced its first coronavirus cases in March. Thirty-six of them died of the disease.

Meanwhile, 6,123 children have been categorised under PDP status, which refers to people that have Covid-19 symptoms but have not been tested for the virus. Of those children, 204 have died.

There are still many questions surrounding coronavirus infection in children and infants.

On its website, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it is unclear whether children are as susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2 as adults, and whether they can transmit the virus as effectively as adults.

Recent evidence suggests that children likely have the same or higher viral loads in their nasopharynx as adults, and that children can spread the virus effectively in households, the CDC says.

The World Health Organisation recommends mother-infant contact and breastfeeding be based on a full consideration of not only the potential risks of Covid-19 infection of the infant, but also the risk of morbidity and mortality associated with not breastfeeding, the inappropriate use of infant formula, as well as the protective effects of skin-to-skin contact.