CDC Media Relations - Telebriefing Transcript - October 3, 2002
The transcript of the media briefing conduted by the CDC where the possible transmission of West Nile Virus through breastmilk was discussed.
CDC Media Relations: Press Release
The CDC's release October 3rd indicating the presence of WNV antibodies in a baby breastfed by a mother infected with the virus.
Possible West Nile Virus Transmission to an Infant Through Breast-Feeding --- Michigan, 2002 The CDC's MMWR report.
The items above represent the official communication from the CDC regarding the possible transmission of West Nile Virus through breastmilk. Several times during the briefing the CDC's doctors were careful to stress that the benefits of breastfeeding outweight the possible risk of West Nile Virus. This statement is also at the end of news release.
However many news articles including the Associated Press wire copy do not mention the CDC's recommendations on breastfeeding: Breast Milk Blamed for West Nile Headlines like this one, or "West Nile caught from Breast Milk" abound. What is the message that women receive?
Here's a strong effort to counter damage done by the CDC's weak communications effort:
Breast milk not a source of West Nile - News - The Daily Illini Online
The Illinois Department of Public Health says "the idea of transmission through ingestion has not been documented anywhere in the world, although this is a disease that has been in other countries since 1937." LLL recommends that no mothers stop breastfeeding their children because of West Nle Virus. "Federal scientists are not encouraging anyone to wean their baby. The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the concerns of West Nile Virus."