Cytomegalovirus shedding from breastmilk and mucosal sites in healthy postpartum women: A pilot study.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of medical virology


Adolescent; Adult; Cytomegalovirus; Female; Healthy Volunteers; Humans; Infant; Infant, Newborn; Male; Milk, Human; Pilot Projects; Polymerase Chain Reaction; Postpartum Period; Saliva; Vagina; Virus Shedding; Young Adult; breastmilk; cytomegalovirus; postpartum


Mother-to-child cytomegalovirus (CMV) breastmilk transmission can occur in the postnatal period. In a pilot study, we measured daily CMV detection by polymerase chain reaction in breastmilk, vaginal, and saliva samples from nine healthy CMV-seropositive postpartum women for 28 days. CMV was found in seven of nine women and 171 of 253 breastmilk samples (67.6%). In four women, all breastmilk samples were positive. CMV was less frequently detected in the vagina (39 of 258, 15.1%) and saliva (53 of 258, 20.5%). Daily breastmilk, oral, and genital collection is feasible and demonstrates high variability between women. Further study of the dynamics of CMV in distinct anatomic compartments is warranted.

Clinical Institute

Women & Children


Obstetrics & Gynecology


Infectious Diseases