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West Nile Found in Mom's Milk

Scientists have found West Nile virus in the breast milk of a new mother who has the infection, although her baby shows no symptoms of the disease. Researchers don't know if the mother can pass the virus to her baby through her breast milk. The Michigan mother got a blood transfusion after giving birth, and may have caught West Nile that way. She and another patient, a liver transplant recipient, received blood from a common donor, and remaining blood samples from that donor show signs of West Nile.

She breast-fed her baby for two weeks, but her doctor told her to quit when she was hospitalized for West Nile. A sample of her breast milk shows traces of the virus.However, in parts of Africa where West Nile is common, there has never been evidence that it can spread through breast feeding, the way HIV can. Dr. Lyle Petersen says, ??Breast-feeding has many beneficial effects?and the decision to discontinue breast-feeding is a big one."

If West Nile does enter breast milk, it won?t stay there long, says Petersen, because the bodies of people who aren't seriously infected get rid of the virus quickly. Many people never realize they?ve been infected by West Nile and only 20% of people who are bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus come down with flu-like symptoms. Only one in 150 to 200 people, mostly the elderly, get seriously ill.

One good thing about tropical storm Isidore: it washed away mosquito eggs and larvae when it flooded parts of Louisiana and Mississippi this week, so there won?t be any more West Nile until mosquitoes breed again.

Don?t worry?we?ll beat those nasty bugs. Stay positive with 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace? by Wayne Dyer?a beautiful little book that makes a perfect gift, click here.

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