Key Breastfeeding Recommendations for Women Survivors of EVD

Date IssuedSourceRecommendation(s) or Message
August 22, 2014ENN
  • “For breastfed infants of Ebola infected mothers who are asymptomatic, the risks of Ebola transmission via breastmilk are understood to outweigh the risks associated with replacement feeding.”

  • “For breastfed infants of Ebola infected mothers who have developed Ebola or are suspected Ebola cases themselves, the benefits of maintaining breastfeeding outweigh any possible benefits of replacement feeding.”

  • “Where a mother has survived Ebola … she should return for testing of her milk every 2–3 days (or however often is feasible) … Ideally there should be 2 negative tests on different days …”

September 2014 (update)ENN
  • “If testing of breast milk is not feasible, then maternal breastfeeding should be avoided for 8 weeks post recovery.

January 2015CDC
  • “Mothers who have survived Ebola should not breastfeed their infants for 2 months after recovery.”

March 2015Social Mobilization Pillar
  • “If you have survived Ebola, it is best not to breastfeed IF you have other safe ways to feed your baby. But if there is no other way to feed your baby safely, breastfeeding will still provide the nutrition your baby needs.”

April 2015 (update)CDC
  • (Messages consistent with Social Mobilization Pillar message above.)

April 11, 2016WHO
  • “EVD survivors who are lactating may wish to have their breast milk tested … Women who do not know the status of their breast milk or who were tested and for whom no Ebola virus RNA was detected should continue breastfeeding. If Ebola virus RNA is detected, breastfeeding should be suspended and the breast milk restested every 48 hours until two consecutive ‘undected’ results are obtained. During this time, breast milk should be replaced with a sustainable appropriate breast-milk substitute.”

  • Abbreviations: CDC, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; ENN, Emergency Nutrition Network; EVD, Ebola virus disease; RNA, ribonucleic acid; WHO, World Health Organization.