KEY POINTS

  • Infant was tested after it reportedly showed signs of breathing problems
  • An x-ray of the baby's chest confirmed the newborn was suffering from the coronavirus and problems with liver function
  • Two other infants had been tested for the coronavirus before this case, but came up negative

A Chinese newborn was diagnosed with the coronavirus on Wednesday, just 30 hours after the baby’s mother tested positive for the deadly virus. 

Doctors told Chinese state broadcaster, CCTV, the infant was likely infected as a result of “vertical transmission;” the passing of infections from a mother to their infant during pregnancy. The newborn was reportedly stable after birth but started showing signs of breathing problems. Doctors reportedly found the virus and problems with the liver after several x-rays to the infant’s chest.

The baby has been confirmed as the youngest person diagnosed with coronavirus since the outbreak began in the Wuhan province.

“This reminds us to pay attention to mother-to-child being a possible route of coronavirus transmission” Dr. Zeng Lingkong, the head of the Wuhan Children’s Hospital neonatal medicine department, told reporters.

She then revealed the newborn’s nanny had been diagnosed with coronavirus days before the mother had been infected.

“Whether it was the baby’s nanny who passed the virus to the mother who passed it to the baby, we cannot be sure at the moment,” Lingkong said. “But we can confirm that the baby was in close contact with patients infected with the new coronavirus, which says newborns can also be infected.”

Two other newborns were also feared to have been carrying the coronavirus, one born on Jan. 13 and another born the same week as the infected newborn. Both were tested and came up negative despite their mothers suffering from coronavirus.

The death toll from coronavirus has reached 493, with roughly 24,500 people infected.

Officials on Wednesday confirmed that 10 people aboard a cruise ship in Japan had tested positive for coronavirus.