Last update Jan. 6, 2021
Acute disease of the central nervous system that is caused by an arbovirus of the Flavivirus genus with three subtypes: The European strain (which includes the Kumlinge virus from Finland), the siberian strain and the far eastern strain (ISCIII 2016, ECDC 2015).
It is contracted after the byte of an infected ticks from the Ixodes species and by ingesting unpasteurized dairy products from infected goats, sheep or cows. Besides ticks, small rodents and less frequently other animals can serve as reservoirs (ECDC 2015).
Approximately ⅔ of infected individuals do not develop symptoms although the rest, after only having flu-like symptoms for 1 to 2 weeks, develop meningoencephalitis with frequent neurological sequelae and a 1 to 3% mortality rate (ISCIII 2016, ECDC 2015).
There is no direct person to person transmission (WHO 2020, ECDC 2015) except for possible maternal to fetal transmission (ECDC 2015). There is little to no evidence that this arbovirus, or in fact any other arbovirus, could be passed on through breast milk (Lawrence 2016, p428).
We found only two citations that mention the possibility of transmission through breast milk and both came from the same old case report (Vaisviliene 1997).
No more case reports have been published regarding this form of transmission. This by itself should represent a stark contrast to what is expected since most mothers continue breastfeeding after infection due to the asymptomatic nature of their illness or because at first, and for a long period of time, they only develop flu-like symptoms.
Even though some flavivirus can occasionally be found in breast milk, there is only limited evidence regarding the risk of transmission of flavivirus to babies from breast milk (Mann 2018).
Some expert authors consider that lactation, when possible, should continue if infection from this or other strains of arbovirus would occur (Lawrence 2016 p776).
The inactivated virus vaccine can be administered during lactation (NPA 2020).
Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.
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e-lactancia is a resource recommended by Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine - 2012 of United States of America
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