COVID Unlikely to Be Transmitted by Breast Milk

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay reporter

FRIDAY, August 28, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Breastfeeding mothers are unlikely to pass the novel coronavirus to their babies through their milk, researchers say.

No case of an infant contracting COVID-19 from breast milk has been documented, but questions about the potential risk remain.

Researchers examined 64 breast milk samples collected from 18 women across the United States infected with the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) responsible for COVID-19.

A sample tested positive for coronavirus RNA, but follow-up testing showed the virus could not replicate and therefore could not infect the breastfed infant, according to the study recently published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Detection of viral RNA does not equal infection. It has to grow and multiply to be infectious and we did not find this in any of our samples,” said Christina Chambers, study author, professor of pediatrics at the University of California. , San Diego. She is also the director of Mommy’s Milk Human Milk Research Biorepository.

“Our results suggest that breast milk itself is not likely a source of infection for the infant,” Chambers said in a press release from UCSD.

To avoid transmission of the virus during breastfeeding, wearing a mask, washing hands and sterilizing pumping equipment after each use is recommended.

“We hope that our results and future studies will give women the confidence they need to breastfeed. Breast milk provides invaluable benefits to mother and baby, ”said co-author Dr. Grace Aldrovandi, head of the division of infectious diseases at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles.

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SOURCE: University of California, San Diego, press release, August 19, 2020

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