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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2010 August;62(4):397-409

language: Italian

Breastfeeding and infectious diseases: state of the art

Zuppa A. A., Antichi E., Fracchiolla A., Carducci C., Catenazzi P., Romagnoli C.

Divisione di Neonatologia, Dipartimento di Scienze Pediatriche, Medico Chirurgiche e Neuroscienze dello Sviluppo, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Roma, Italia


Despite the well-known nutritive, psychological, immunological and economical benefits of breast-feeding, some contraindications exist, such as some mother infectious diseases transmitted through the breastfeeding itself. The risk of transmitting an infectious agent through breast milk seems to be relatively low, except for some virus diseases (CMV HIV), for some invasive bacteria forms (Salmonella typhimurium and Brucella) and for the presence of abscesses and mastitis. In some mother infectious disease, a correct hygiene allows the continuation of breastfeeding without risks for the infant, whereas in other cases it is recommended to breastfeed for the role of defence carried out from specific antibodies contained in the breast milk. Therefore, the decision of interrupting the brestfeeding may be done only after comparing risks and benefits, considering current knowledge on transmission of infectious pathologies.

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