Health officials are warning of an emerging trend that has left thousands of babies in Australia’s hospitals with the virus after they had been infected by the highly contagious coronavirus.
The ABC has learned that up to 80 per cent of babies born at Sydney’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the past three weeks have tested positive for the coronaviruses coronavirin and covalent cobalt-60.
That is higher than the average of 55 per cent reported for the entire country, Health Minister Jill Hennessy said.
“This is a very concerning situation, but we are working hard to get to the bottom of this,” she said.
“We have seen some very serious complications for babies.”
While it is not known how many babies are infected each week, the rate of the virus among babies born in hospitals in Australia has been increasing, Ms Hennessys said.
The ABC understands a number of hospitals in Sydney are using fetal growth medicine to help control the virus.
Ms Hennessies office is investigating the causes for the spike in hospital babies’ testing positive for coronaviral, but she said it was too early to say how.
It is the first time the state has seen an increase in infants being infected with the coronivirus.
The rate of coronavirence among babies who have been born in the city has doubled since mid-October, to about 80 per day.
The increase in babies who test positive for virus has come despite the number of newborns being born at Queen Elizabeth.
Since mid-November, the number born at the Queen Elizabeth Infirmary has doubled to almost 600.
Health authorities are concerned that the virus is getting into babies’ brains and could lead to a more severe infection in some babies.
More than 500 babies have tested negative for coronvirus in NSW since mid October.
Experts are calling for urgent steps to contain the virus in the next few weeks.
They said they have no idea when the virus will peak in the population.
Dr Lisa Taylor from the Sydney-based Royal Children’s Hospital said coronavirothosis plagues babies in their early years and has no known cure.
“[We] have had some babies who had an infection and we were told it was due to COVID-19 and that they should be tested,” Dr Taylor said.
“There has been a lot of concern that if you’re pregnant then you’re more at risk of this being the case.
We have had a couple of babies that were born to mothers who were pregnant but have tested and we’ve had no problem.”
A spokesperson for the Victorian Government said there was no specific data on coronavired.
Victoria’s coronavizarias state coronavirais a rise in the numbers of newborn babies being born with the highly infectious virus.
More to come.