A stillborn foetus whose mother had coronavirus has died in the womb after being infected with the disease, Israeli doctors have said.
A woman, who had been infected with Covid-19, was in her 36th week of pregnancy when she was admitted to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, Israel, after falling ill on Saturday.
Doctors soon discovered the woman’s unborn baby had died in the womb, with tests after birth revealing the foetus had also been infected with the virus.
The hospital said it is unclear if the virus was the cause of the baby’s death, The Times of Israel reports.
It comes just weeks after another stillborn baby whose mother had coronavirus died after being infected with the disease through the placenta.
The stillborn baby whose mother had coronavirus has died in the womb at Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, Israel. Pictured: Medical staff at Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba
The woman was in her 36th week of pregnant when she was admitted to hospital after falling ill. Pictured: Members of staff work at the Covid-19 isolation ward of Meir Medical Center
The 29-year-old woman has been in her 25th week of pregnancy when she arrived at the Assuta Hospital in Ashdod after suffering a two-day fever and coronavirus symptoms, local media said.
She tested positive for Covid and tests after birth revealed the child also had the virus.
It was the first known incident of its kind in Israel, and a rare global occurrence, the country’s Health Ministry said at the time.
Head of the Infectious Disease Department at the hospital, Dr Tal Brosh, told the Ynet news site the foetus had been infected ‘through the placenta and with a very high degree of certainty, [we can say] died due to coronavirus’.
Dr Brosh added that they had seen three stillbirths of women who were infected with coronavirus, but had not found the unborn babies with the disease before this incident.
Last week the head of the Infectious Disease Department at the Assuta Hospital, Dr Tal Brosh, said a foetus had been infected ‘through the placenta’
‘If the mother had been vaccinated in the first or second trimester, this could have been avoided,’ Dr Brosh said.
The mother said she had been as careful as she could be to avoid infection, and she was grateful to the medics who ‘did their best and were supportive’.
Director of the maternity ward Dr Yossi Tobin agreed that it was probable the death was caused by Covid, due to the baby being infected in utero.
‘It was an intrauterine infection of the fetus, which can cause placental infection and death,’ Dr Tobin said.
‘This is a rare occurrence because a baby is usually infected with coronavirus after birth, as a result of contact with the mother.
‘The fact that we were able to find out that they were already positive in the womb indicates a high probability that [the fetus] died as a result of coronavirus.’
The hospital did not reveal if another potential cause had been ruled out.
Israel is so far the only country to be able to prove an effect of its vaccination programme, with ongoing studies suggesting two doses of Pfizer’s jab could cut the risk of illness by 94 per cent for over-55s.
This month it was revealed that a 29-year-old woman had been in her 25th week of pregnancy when she arrived at the Assuta Hospital in Ashdod with coronavirus. Pictured: A medical worker holds a patient’s hand at the Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba
The country is only using the Pfizer vaccine and insists people must get the jab three weeks apart. Britain has said people will get their second shot 12 weeks after the first.
This week it was revealed that Israelis are being asked for evidence of vaccinations status before being allowed into busy locations such as bars, shopping centres and theatres.
Only those with a ‘green passport’ are permitted to enter certain locations as the country tries to reopen following the Covid-19 pandemic.
People who have received the required two vaccinations receive the green passport which allows them greater freedom.