Effect of immunization against rubella on lactation products. II. Maternal-neonatal interactions

J Infect Dis. 1982 May;145(5):661-6. doi: 10.1093/infdis/145.2.661.


The transmission of rubella virus to newborn infants via the process of breast-feeding was studied after immunization of 16 breast-feeding and 10 non-breast-feeding mothers with HPV-77 DE5 live, attenuated rubella virus vaccine administered subcutaneously or RA 27/3 live, attenuated rubella virus vaccine administered intranasally or subcutaneously in the immediate postpartum period. Infectious rubella virus or virus antigen was observed in the breast milk of 11 (68%) of the 16 vaccinated, breast-feeding women studied. After maternal immunization, infectious rubella virus or virus antigen was recovered from the nasopharynx and throat of 56% of the breast-fed infants and from none of the non-breast-fed infants. Of the breast-fed infants, 25% showed transient seroconversion to rubella virus but without any clinical disease. No rubella virus-specific seroconversion was observed in the non-breast-fed infants. These observations provide strong support for the communicability of rubella virus to neonates via the process of breast-feeding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis*
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Milk, Human / immunology
  • Milk, Human / microbiology
  • Nasopharynx / immunology
  • Nasopharynx / microbiology
  • Pharynx / immunology
  • Pharynx / microbiology
  • Rubella / prevention & control*
  • Rubella Vaccine / administration & dosage
  • Rubella virus / immunology*
  • Rubella virus / isolation & purification*
  • Vaccination*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Rubella Vaccine