Menu ENN Search

Ebola virus disease and breastfeeding: time for attention

View this article as a pdf

Research snapshot1

Over 2,800 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been confirmed in the ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); most cases are adults and 56% of cases are women. Ample information is available on the presence of EVD in bodily fluids such as blood, urine, and semen, and on the prevention of transmission from these fluids. However, information on EVD and breastmilk is limited. The current recommendation of testing breastmilk only in mothers who are known EVD survivors might be insufficient, because asymptomatic lactating mothers in households affected by EVD have also been shown to have Ebola virus-positive breastmilk. In DRC, current guidance on breastfeeding issued by the Ministry of Health and supported by the United Nations Children's Fund recommends that, in EVD-affected households, mothers and infants who have symptoms but are Ebola virus blood-negative should continue breastfeeding.

The authors of this correspondence are concerned about these guidelines, because Ebola virus blood negativity does not necessarily equal safe breastmilk. Health practitioners and policy-makers are in desperate need of more information on EVD and breastmilk. Systematic research is needed on EVD appearance and duration in breastmilk; transmissibility through breastmilk, taking into account the effect of factors such as infant saliva on the virus; and the provision of evidence-based advice for asymptomatic lactating mothers in EVD-affected households. The repercussions of a lack of clarity on these questions are potentially enormous for DRC. If breastfeeding is wrongly discouraged, years of public health efforts to promote breastfeeding could be lost. Conversely, if breastfeeding is wrongly encouraged, many infants could be put at risk. The authors conclude that it is time to give as much attention to Ebola virus in breastmilk as we do in semen.  

Read more...

Endnote

1Ververs, M. and Arya, A. (2019) Ebola virus disease and breastfeeding: time for attention. Correspondence. The Lancet, published online: August 27, 2019 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(19)32005-7

More like this

FEX: Ebola virus disease and breastfeeding – comment

View this article as a pdf Research snapshot1 The authors commend Mija Ververs and Akanksha Arya2 for highlighting an urgent need for evidence-based breastfeeding guidance in...

FEX: Letters

Dear ENN, If there is one thing that we have learnt from the current Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak it is that regardless of infection status, Ebola comes bringing bad...

en-net: Infant feeding and Ebola Outbreak

Posted on behalf of Fabienne Rousseau, ACF I have a question related to infant feeding in the context of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Our teams are engaged...

FEX: Guidelines for the management of pregnant and breastfeeding women in the context of Ebola virus disease

View this article as a pdf The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is currently experiencing the second largest Ebola outbreak in history, following a 2014-2016 outbreak in...

en-net: Infectious period of Ebola Survivors post-recovery

Hi everyone, I was wondering if there was any definitive information on how long someone / their body fluids are infectious for once their blood tests come back clear of Ebola...

FEX: Review of the role of food and the food system in the transmission and spread of ebola virus

Summary of research1 Location: West Africa What we know: The current outbreak of ebola virus disease (EVD) centred in West Africa is the largest in history. The full role of...

FEX: En-net update

By Tamsin Walters, en-net moderator Over the past four months1, 32 questions have been posted on en-net, generating 69 responses. Two upcoming trainings have been advertised...

FEX: How Ebola virus disease affected nutrition in Sierra Leone – a food value-chain framework to improve future response strategies

View this article as a pdf Research snapshot1 In 2014-2016 an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Sierra Leone resulted in 14,124 cases and 3,956 deaths. This...

en-net: What should be the nutritional support to adult patients with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in treatment centres in West Africa?

Dear experts, I would appreciate your help in this. I drafted the following text but you might have ideas and other suggestions. Please help me on this one... This question...

FEX: Experiences of the Sustainable Nutrition and Agriculture Promotion (SNAP) programme in the Ebola response in Sierra Leone

By Sibida George and Georgia Beans Sibida George is Team Leader with International Medical Corps/ SNAP and is based in Sierra Leone. Georgia Beans is the Chief Of Party with...

Resource: WHO/UNICEF/WFP Interim guideline: Nutritional Care of Children and Adults with Ebola Virus Disease in Treatment Centres

This interim guideline provides recommendations on nutritional support to adults and paediatric patients in Ebola treatment unit (ETUs). It highlights the key clinical problems...

en-net: Question to those working on Ebola in charge of feeding patients

Dear colleagues.
In 2014, WHO launched interim guidelines on Nutritional care of children and adults with Ebola Virus Disease. I would like to know whether...

en-net: WHO Zika and breastfeeding interim guidance

The main mode of Zika virus transmission is through infected Aedes mosquitoes. However, current widespread transmission of the virus has raised questions as to whether...

FEX: Nutritional care for patients with Ebola Virus Disease

View this article as a pdf Research snapshot1 During the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak between 2014 and 2016 in West Africa, practitioners faced challenges providing...

Blog post: Reflections on the Global Nutrition Cluster (GNC) meeting July 2019

ENN attended the Global Nutrition Cluster (GNC) annual gathering in Brussels in early July (Tanya Khara as Technical Director, Isabelle Modigell and Linda Shaker-Berberias as...

FEX: Infant Feeding Patterns and Risk of Death

Summary of published paper1 Current WHO guidelines recommend that HIV positive mothers should avoid breastfeeding only if replacement feeding is acceptable, feasible,...

Resource: International Perspectives Concerning Donor Milk Banking During the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Pandemic

Background On December 31, 2019 the first case of what is now known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2) was reported to the Chinese Center for...

en-net: ReSoMaL (Rehydration Solution for Malnutrition) for children under 6 months with severe acute malnutrition

Dear all, is ReSoMal forbidden for children under 6 months suffering from severe acute malnutrition with severe dehydration? If yes , what is your experience about...

FEX: Barriers to exclusive breastfeeding among children in Gedo region, Somalia

By Rowena Ndakwe and Dr Abdi Tari Rowena Ndakwe is the current MEAL Coordinator for Trócaire Somalia, with over five years' experience in monitoring, evaluation,...

en-net: Calculating and making SDTM from F100 for a premature

Can anyone help me figure out how to calculate the amount, frequency and recipe of SDTM (Specially Diluted Therapeutic Milk) from F100 for a premature?

Also which...

Close

Reference this page

Ebola virus disease and breastfeeding: time for attention. Field Exchange 61, November 2019. p35. www.ennonline.net/fex/61/ebolavirusdiseasebreastfeeding

(fex.61.547)

Close

Download to a citation manager

The below files can be imported into your preferred reference management tool, most tools will allow you to manually import the RIS file. Endnote may required a specific filter file to be used.