Breastmilk Might Transmit Yellow Fever in Infants Post Maternal Vaccination

According to a case published in the journal Canadian Medical Association Journal, CMAJ, yellow fever vaccination should be avoided by nursing mothers. Till now this avoidance of the vaccination was on theoretical grounds alone. However, the case of a five-week old infant contracting yellow fever virus supports this recommendation through practical example.

The mother of a 10 day old infant received pre-travel vaccination, including the yellow fever one, which is live-virus vaccine. She, along with the baby, traveled to Venezuela where she continued breastfeeding the infant. The previously healthy baby was taken to the hospital after suffering from irritability and fever for two days. The tests revealed presence of yellow fever virus.The baby did not have any insect bite, had not come in contact with an infected person, had not been exposed to animals, had no herpes history in the family and had not had any vaccinations till the symptoms manifested. Thus, the most probable cause of contracting the virus was from the mother’s milk.

This case supports the recommendations of avoiding the yellow fever vaccination among nursing mothers. The authors of the study suggest that lactating mothers should avoid traveling altogether till the baby is being breastfed or old enough for vaccination.

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