Seoul, November 24
South Korean health authorities on Wednesday said that a foetus has died of Covid-19 in the first case in the country.
A 24-week pregnant woman delivered a stillborn baby on Monday, four days after being confirmed to have been infected with Covid-19, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
The foetus tested positive for Covid-19 after the birth, Yonhap News Agency quoted the authorities as saying.
Earlier, the KDCA announced that the country added 35 more deaths from Covid-19, the highest number since the start of the fourth wave of the pandemic in July, bringing the death toll to 3,363.
The KDCA later excluded the foetal death from the daily death toll, bringing the accumulated death toll to 3,362.
Initially SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy was not associated with significant adverse effects.
But later, data have shown that pregnant women are at increased risk of developing severe Covid-19, and they are also nearly twice as likely to die from Covid-19 as women the same age who aren't pregnant, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
From March 2020 to September 2021 the CDC found that around 1.3 per cent of babies born to women in the US with Covid-19 were stillborn, compared with 0.6 per cent of babies born to women who weren't infected with Covid-19.
In its latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the US CDC published two new studies highlighting the increased risks faced by pregnant women infected by SARS-CoV-2 -- particularly after the emergence of the Delta variant.
One study showed that the Delta Covid variant nearly doubled the risk of stillbirth, while the other showed five times the risk of death.
The possible reason could be that Covid-19 may reduce blood flow to and increase inflammation in the placenta -- conditions that make it difficult for a foetus to survive, the CDC said.
The CDC recommends that pregnant women get vaccinated against Covid-19 to prevent severe illness, death, and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
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