Evaluation for SARS-CoV-2 in Breast Milk From 18 Infected Women | Breastfeeding | JAMA | JAMA Network
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    Research Letter
    August 19, 2020

    Evaluation for SARS-CoV-2 in Breast Milk From 18 Infected Women

    Author Affiliations
    • 1University of California, San Diego, La Jolla
    • 2University of California, Los Angeles
    JAMA. 2020;324(13):1347-1348. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.15580

    Concern has been raised that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may be transmitted to infants by breastfeeding. A number of organizations advise that women infected with SARS-CoV-2 may choose to breastfeed with protections to prevent transmission of the virus through respiratory droplets. Of 24 case reports on breast milk samples from women infected with SARS-CoV-2, viral RNA was detected in 10 samples from 4 women.1-6 In some cases, environmental contamination or retrograde flow from an infected infant could not be ruled out. Detection of viral RNA by reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) does not equate with infectivity. To date, SARS-CoV-2 has not been isolated from breast milk, and there are no documented cases of transmission of infectious virus to the infant through breast milk. However, potential for viral transmission through breast milk remains a critical question for women infected with SARS-CoV-2 who wish to breastfeed.