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COVID-19 confirmed to be a major factor in four stillbirths reported in Ireland last week

DUBLIN: COVID-19 was confirmed to be a key factor in the four stillbirths reported last Thursday in Ireland. The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) said in a briefing that those four stillbirths are associated with rare inflammation of the placenta — COVID placentitis.

A case of placentitis was previously reported in Cork, but that baby survived. It is worrying that five of the 15 cases of COVID placentitis reported globally have occurred in Ireland.

Dr. Cliona Murphy, chair of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “For these four cases, it is the view of the pathologists conducting these investigations that Covid-19 was the significant factor that resulted in the stillbirth of these babies. It is an international entity, quite rare. We are not sure why we have only seen it in Ireland in the last couple of months.

Dr. Murphy expressed condolences to the families. She also said that the occurrence of placentitis is not linked to new variants.

There is a lot of misinformation circulating about getting vaccinated and the risk of fertility. But she advised women to take the COVID-19 vaccine when trying to become pregnant. “There is no evidence that taking any of the Covid-19 vaccines affects a woman’s future ability to conceive or to continue a pregnancy. There is no evidence the vaccines have any effect on male or female fertility,” Dr. Murphy explained.

However, she warned that some studies have shown that it affects sperm count and quality in men within a few weeks after having moderate to severe infection with COVID-19. Dr. Murphy added that it could be caused by high temperatures and that it is not yet known whether this is a trend or if there are long-term effects.

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