Strict infection control practices and breast-feeding guidance is important in areas with increased rates of HIV infection, according to a recently published study.
Kristen M. Little, MPH, and colleagues from the CDC reviewed online database articles about women infected with HIV by infants with hospital-acquired HIV. From studies published from January 1975 to January 2011, the investigators noted five studies that documented these types of transmission. They found that infection rates for women breast-feeding an infant with HIV were 40% to 60%, most likely a result of epithelial disruption, such as maternal fissures and/or infant stomatitis.
Little and colleagues said such cases were reported in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics — which reported the first such type of transmission in 1988 — Libya, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Romania. Africa was listed as a region of concern because wet nursing and cross-nursing occur. However, the researchers reported that no incidence of wet- or cross-nursing infection has been documented. Poor infection control practices were cited in areas where infants were nosocomially infected with HIV.
“Continued research is needed in countries with high rates of HIV, mother-to-child transmission, orphanhood, and wet nursing or cross feeding in order to quantify the prevalence and magnitude of risk associated with [infant to breast-feeding woman transmission],” the researchers said. “Support should also be continued for programs working to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission, which reduce the number of HIV-infected, breast-feeding children and prevent opportunities for [this type of transmission] to occur.”
Disclosure: Ms. Little reports no relevant financial disclosures.