An Israeli hospital said Saturday that a stillborn fetus of a woman infected with the coronavirus was also found to carry the virus. It was the second such case in Israel.
The hospital said it cannot currently link the virus to the death itself.
The woman, infected with COVID-19, was in the 36th week of her pregnancy when she arrived at the hospital over the weekend after feeling ill, Hebrew media said.
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Doctors at the Meir Medical Center found that the fetus had died in utero and a subsequent laboratory test revealed that the fetus was also infected with the virus.
A similar case was reported last week when the fetus of a 29-year-old woman, in her 25th week of pregnancy, was found to carry the virus in tests after a stillbirth.
In the case of last week, the hospital said there was a high probability that the fetus had died from complications from COVID-19.
“The fetus was infected through the placenta and with a high degree of certainty, [we can say] died due to coronavirus, ”Dr. Tal Brosh, head of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Assuta Hospital in Ashdod, told the Ynet news site.
Dr. Yossi Tobin, director of the hospital’s maternity ward, agreed that because the fetus became infected in utero, death was likely caused by the coronavirus.
“It was an intrauterine infection of the fetus, which can cause placental infection and death,” Tobin said. “This is a rare case because a baby usually becomes infected with the coronavirus after birth, as a result of contact with the mother. The fact that we could find out that they were already positive in utero indicates a high probability that [the fetus] died as a result of the coronavirus. ”
The Health Ministry has advised pregnant women to get vaccinated against the coronavirus after several pregnant women became seriously ill, and several babies were born prematurely by caesarean section due to life-threatening risks to mothers and children.
Some of the women are suspected of being infected with the so-called British strain of the coronavirus, a mutated strain believed to be more infectious and deadly.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control also said pregnant women should be allowed to receive the vaccine, noting that they are at increased risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19.
“People who are pregnant and are part of a group recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine may choose to be vaccinated,” the agency said in a statement.