Death Probe Launched After Mysterious Illness Reported Among Babies

( A mysterious increase in the number of deaths of newborns has been observed in Scotland for the second time in the span of six months, prompting the health officials there to begin an inquiry into the cause of the tragedy.

The alert was raised when 18 newborns passed away within the first four weeks of their birth in March, and a report by the Herald newspaper underlines the “extremely rare” surge in mortality of babies. The alarm was raised after the article highlighted the spike.
The same control limit was also exceeded in September of the previous year, which was the first time this had happened while records had been kept. At that time, there were 21 fatalities reported among neonates.

According to the information provided by the local media, “the newborn death rate was 5.1 per 1,000 live births in September and 4.6 per 1,000 in March, compared to an average of 1.49 per 1000 in 2019.”

Public Health Scotland (PHS) stated that the fatalities could not have been the result of a random occurrence. The earlier surge in mortality in September “remained a mystery.”

The analysis finds that there is no “direct correlation” between COVID surges and the fatalities, but it does highlight that there has been an increase in the number of expecting mothers who have received vaccinations and that COVID infections during pregnancy are associated with an increased risk of preterm delivery.

The COVID infections “did not appear to have had a role” in the spate of deaths that occurred in September.

Dr. Sarah Stock of Edinburgh University stated that “The figures are extremely disturbing,” although she conceded that she did not know the reason for the fatalities.

In late December 2021, when the Omicron version predominated, U.S. newborns and children aged 0–4 years were hospitalized at a rate around five times higher than when the Delta variant predominated. Hospitalization rates were most significant among infants aged six months, although severity markers (e.g., respiratory support) did not differ by age group.