Transmission of Cytomegalovirus (CMV) through Human Milk

Are New Breastfeeding Policies Required for Preterm Infants?
  • Andrea Willeitner
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 554)


Nine out of ten mothers with positive cytomegalovirus (CMV) serology shed CMV in their milk at some time during lactation. CMV is transmitted readily through human milk. Although the majority of acquired CMV infections cause little or no symptoms, there is an association between CMV infection and severe disease in small premature infants. Pasteurization damages some of the anti-infective properties of untreated human milk but is the only reliable and feasible method to destroy CMV infectivity. The current practice of feeding untreated human milk may require reevaluation for seropositive mothers of very immature infants.


Breast Milk Human Milk Cytomegalovirus Infection Healthy Term Infant Systemic Bacterial Infection 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Willeitner
    • 1
  1. 1.Neonatal/Perinatal Medicine, Meriter HospitalUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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