An unborn child has died in Israel from COVID-19, Ashdod hospital officials said on Tuesday.
The death is the first of its kind in Israel and a rare occurrence in the world, health officials say.
The 29-year-old mother of the child was referred to Assuta Medical Center in Ashdod over the weekend when she was in her 25th week of gestation, after she reported there was no fetal movement.
In tests conducted two weeks earlier, her pregnancy was found to be sound and the fetus showed no symptoms to cause concern.
Upon her admission to the hospital, she was found to be infected by coronavirus and that her fetus had already died. The woman underwent a "silent birth" in the hospital.
Her unborn child was confirmed to have also been infected by the virus and doctors say they attribute his death to the disease.
"I was as careful as I could be to avoid infection," the mother said. "It is important to receive the coronavirus vaccine to save those dear to us. I am grateful to the medical teams who did their best and were supportive."
Dr. Tal Brosh, head of the Infectious Disease Department at Assuta said this was a rare case.
"We rarely see fetuses infected by COVID-19," he said. "There are few such recorded cases in the world, with some reported in Brazil. We have had three silent births of women who were infected by the virus but did not find the unborn babies infected before this case," he said.
Brosh said pregnant women are at high risk for COVID-19 complications. "the virus can pass to the fetus and cause its death. If his mother had been vaccinated in the first or second trimester, this could have been avoided," he said.
Dr. Josef Tovbin, the head of the Labor and Delivery Ward at Assuta who treated the woman, said the fetus was infected while in the womb, "which bolsters our opinion that he died from the disease."
Hospitals are not required to test for coronavirus in women arriving to give birth, he said, but added he recommends such tests be conducted to ensure the health of the rest of the patients.