Breast feeding

West Nile virus can be transmitted through breast milk.  In September 2002, a new mother in Michigan was given post-delivery transfusions because of anemia.  Twelve days after delivery, the woman developed severe fever and headaches and tests showed that she had developed WNV, which was later traced to an infected blood donor whose blood had also infected another patient.  The mother had breast fed her baby since birth.  Her breast milk was examined and found to be infected with WNV.  Tests on the baby, who did not become ill, showed that the child was also infected with WNV.  There is little likelihood that the child could have been infected through another means than the breast milk. 

There is no record of an infant under 1 year of age becoming ill from WNV. At this time, because the benefits of breast-feeding are well-established and the risks of transmission to infants is not known, there are no recommendations that people change breast-feeding practices because of WNV.

FAQ WNV Breastfeeding (CDC)

Instant feedback:

Women who are WNV infected should not breastfeed their babies.


CDC. West Nile Virus Home. Frequently Asked Questions. Pregnancy & Breastfeeding. Retrieved11/5/2017,