Live neonates born to mothers with Ebola virus disease: a review of the literature

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Ebola virus disease (EVD) is associated with a high mortality, especially among neonates. There is a paucity of literature on live neonates born to pregnant women with EVD, and therefore, our understanding of their clinical illness and outcomes is extremely limited. A literature search was conducted to identify descriptions of live neonates born to pregnant women with EVD. To date, five known reports have provided limited information about 15 live neonates born to pregnant women with EVD. All 15 neonates died, and of those with information, death was within 19 days of birth. Of the 12 neonates with information on signs and symptoms, 8 (67%) were reported to have fever; no other signs or symptoms were reported. There are no published data describing the clinical course or treatments provided for these neonates. Potential modes of Ebola virus transmission from mother to neonate are through in utero transmission, during delivery, direct contact or through breast milk. There is an urgent need for more information about neonates with EVD, including clinical course (for example, onset and presentation of illness, symptomatology and course of illness) and treatments provided as well as information on Ebola viral load in breast milk from Ebola-positive and convalescing mothers.

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Correspondence to J M Nelson.

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The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Nelson, J., Griese, S., Goodman, A. et al. Live neonates born to mothers with Ebola virus disease: a review of the literature. J Perinatol 36, 411–414 (2016) doi:10.1038/jp.2015.189

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