Viral Contamination of Milk

  • Robert F. Pass


There is a substantial body of evidence indicating that milk plays an important role in protecting the suckling animal from infections due to viruses and other agents. The presence of antibodies, phagocytes and immunocompetent cells in milk is often cited in support of both nursing and use of banked human milk for nourishment of hospitalized premature newborns. The fact that a variety of animal and human viruses can be transmitted from mother to offspring through milk is not widely recognized. The purpose of this report will be to review the range of viral agents that have been recovered from animal and human milk, to consider the potential importance of milk in transmission of these agents and to assess the implications of this information for nursing mothers and milk banks.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Human Milk Acquire Immune Deficiency Syndrome Bovine Leukemia Virus Rubella Virus 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert F. Pass
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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