Ebola Virus Persistence in Breast Milk After No Reported Illness: A Likely Source of Virus Transmission From Mother to Child

Clin Infect Dis. 2017 Feb 15;64(4):513-516. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciw793.


A 9-month-old infant died from Ebola virus (EBOV) disease with unknown epidemiological link. While her parents did not report previous illness, laboratory investigations revealed persisting EBOV RNA in the mother's breast milk and the father's seminal fluid. Genomic analysis strongly suggests EBOV transmission to the child through breastfeeding.

Keywords: Ebola virus; asymptomatic carriage; breast milk; mother-to-child transmission; real-time sequencing.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Ebolavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Female
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / transmission*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical*
  • Male
  • Milk, Human / virology*
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • RNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Semen / virology
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sequence Homology
  • Young Adult


  • RNA, Viral