Health authorities in Scotland have launched another investigation after a mystery surge in newborn baby deaths was recorded for the second time in the space of six months.
The alarm was raised after 18 infants died within four weeks of birth in March according to a report by the Herald newspaper.
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Summit News reports: That same control limit was also breached in September last year, when 21 neonatal deaths were reported, the first time this had occurred since records began.
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“The neonatal mortality rate was 5.1 per 1,000 live births in September and 4.6 per 1,000 in March, against an average of 1.49 per 1000 in 2019,” reports the newspaper.
Public Health Scotland (PHS) said the deaths could not have been down to chance, while the cause behind the previous spike in September also “remained a mystery.”
The report notes that vaccination uptake has increased in expectant mothers and that COVID infections during pregnancy are associated with a higher chance of premature birth, but found no “direct link” between COVID surges and the deaths.
PHS Scotland says COVID infections “did not appear to have played a role” in the September spate of deaths.
Edinburgh University’s Dr. Sarah Stock said, “The numbers are really troubling,” but admitted she didn’t know the cause of the deaths.