Last update: Aug. 12, 2019

Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV) maternal infection

Low Risk for breastfeeding

Moderately safe. Probably compatible.
Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended.
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Varicella is a disease which is contagious for some days before skin lesions appear to be evident, thus, isolation of the mother is useless. On immune – compromised infants, or those mothers to whom varicella has been first noticed within 5 days before, or, 2 days after delivery (it means that a low rate of antibodies have been transferred to the newborn) start therapy with hyperimmune immunoglobulin and follow-up the baby. On those cases of Herpes zoster infection, take standard hygienic measures (hand washing) and avoid close contact with skin lesions.

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Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM´s pediatricians and pharmacists, and are based on updated scientific publications.
It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

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Other names

Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV) maternal infection is also known as


Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV) maternal infection belongs to this group or family:


  1. Shrim A, Koren G, Yudin MH, Farine D. No. 274-Management of Varicella Infection (Chickenpox) in Pregnancy. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2018 Aug;40(8):e652-e657. Abstract
  2. Lawrence RA, Lawrence RM. Breastfeeding. A guide for the medical profession. Eighth Edition. Philadelphia: Elsevier; 2016
  3. Karabayir N, Yaşa B, Gökçay G. Chickenpox infection during lactation. Breastfeed Med. 2015 Jan-Feb;10(1):71-2. Abstract
  4. Sendelbach DM, Sanchez PJ. Varicella, influenza: not necessary to separate mother and infant. Pediatrics. 2012 Aug;130(2):e464; author reply 465-6. Abstract
  5. Lanari M, Sogno Valin P, Natale F, Capretti MG, Serra L. Human milk, a concrete risk for infection? J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2012 Abstract
  6. Verd S, López E. Management of chickenpox with frozen mother's milk. J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Aug;18(8):808-10. Abstract
  7. Red Book. Pickering LK, Baker CJ, Kimberlin DW, Long SS, eds. Red Book: 2012 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. 29th ed. Elk Grove Village, Red Book 2012
  8. SoB - Section on Breastfeeding.. Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics. 2012 Mar;129(3):e827-41. Abstract
  9. Daley AJ, Thorpe S, Garland SM. Varicella and the pregnant woman: prevention and management. Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2008 Feb;48(1):26-33. Abstract
  10. Mathers LJ, Mathers RA, Brotherton DR. Herpes zoster in the T4 dermatome: a possible cause of breastfeeding strike. J Hum Lact. 2007 Feb;23(1):70-1. Abstract
  11. Bohlke K, Galil K, Jackson LA, Schmid DS, Starkovich P, Loparev VN, Seward JF. Postpartum varicella vaccination: is the vaccine virus excreted in breast milk? Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Nov;102(5 Pt 1):970-7. Abstract
  12. Yoshida M, Yamagami N, Tezuka T, Hondo R. Case report: detection of varicella-zoster virus DNA in maternal breast milk. J Med Virol. 1992 Oct;38(2):108-10. Abstract
  13. Bhattacharya SK, Girgla HS. Lactation associated with herpes zoster pectoralis. J Trop Med Hyg. 1976 May;79(5):94-6. Abstract

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