The Zika virus and breastfeeding in nine paragraphs

1. e-lactancia has classified the Zika virus as low risk, compatible with breastfeeding, with no risk for breastfeeding or the infant.

2. The Zika virus is a Flavivirus which is mainly transmitted by the bite of the Aedes mosquitoes from infected carriers (humans and various animals).
3. Sexual transmission as well as vertical transmission from mother to child (placental and perinatal) has been documented sporadically.

4. The relationship between placental transmission and congenital microcephaly is being researched.

5. Possible transmission via transfusion is also a concern.

6. Although Zika virus RNA has been found in breast milk, transmission of the infection through breastfeeding has not been documented.

7. Viral infection is asymptomatic in 75% of cases. Only one in four people develop symptoms which are generally benign, with few complications in adults and children, including infants, and which rarely require hospitalization.

8. In the case of two infants who had tested positive for the virus, presumably after perinatal transmission, one was asymptomatic and the other had mild symptoms with doubtful links to the virus. Both infants, as well as their mothers, progressed favorably (Besnard, 2014).

9. Given the benefits of breastfeeding, expert committees – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – recommend breastfeeding even in areas where there the Zika virus is present.

For more detailed information, containing nine bibliographical references, please consult the e-lactancia.org entry on the compatibility of breastfeeding withthe Zika virus prepared by pediatricians from APILAM (Association for the promotion and scientific and cultural research of breastfeeding)

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