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Chua BS, Song LH, Chang CT, Lim XJ, Nachiappan J. Drive-through transcutaneous bilirubin screening for neonatal jaundice: A safe and efficient system during the COVID-19 pandemic. J Paediatr Child Health. 2020 Oct 19. doi: 10.1111/jpc.15226. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33078471.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases was on an increasing trend, including in Malaysia. The Malaysian Ministry of Health had implemented a range of measures, such as the use of masks and social distancing, to reduce the risk of transmission. Traditionally, newborns are evaluated for neonatal jaundice using visual assessment, a capillary heel prick and serum bilirubin (SB) sampling in primary health-care clinics. This approach requires the physical presence of both parents and their newborns in the primary health-care clinics, causing crowding and increasing the risk of COVID-19 infections. To alleviate crowding, we implemented the transcutaneous bilirubin drive-through (DT) service, which is an established, non-invasive, painless and rapid method to determine the bilirubin levels. Throughout the screening, both parents and baby will be confined to their car. A total of 1842 babies were screened in our DT setting from April to July 2020. Of the total babies, 298 (16.1%) required venesection for SB measurement and 85 required admission for phototherapy. None with severe jaundice were missed since the implementation of this service. The average test duration per neonate was less than 5 min, while conventional venous bilirubin laboratory testing required an average of 1.5 h per neonate. The cost of the SB laboratory test and consumables was approximately USD 5 per test, with an estimated cost savings of USD 7720. DT screening may be introduced in health-care settings to reduce crowding and eliminate the need of painful blood sampling in newborns.

Conclusion: The transplacental passage of specific IgG antibodies from the affected mother to the unaffected fetus highlights neonatal passive immunity.

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