Bacterial Screening of Human Milk and Bowel Disease in Premature Infants

  • Andrea Willeitner
  • Gert Lipowsky
  • Helmut Küster
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 503)


Bacteria in human milk are predominantly apathogenic, but potential pathogens have been found in about 1 out of 5 human milk samples.1,2 To protect prematures, many neonatologists advocate human milk to be regularly screened for bacteria and, in case of contamination, to be heat-treated or even discarded 3-6However, heat treatment of human milk causes significant damage to immunoglobulins, enzymes, growth factors and live cells that are known to protect gainst a wide range of diseases.7-9 On the other hand, the potential of heating human milk to prevent infection has never been shown.3


Premature Infant Human Milk Potential Pathogen Neonatal Unit Microbiological Result 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    L. Carroll, M. Osman, D.P. Davies, and A.S. McNeish, Bacteriological criteria for feeding raw breast-milk to babies on neonatal units, Lancet. 12:732–733 (1979).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A.I. Eidelman, and G. Szilagyi, Patterns of bacterial colonization of human milk, Obstet. Gynecol. 53:550–552 (1979).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    P.L. Ogra, and D.K. Rassin, Human Breast Milk. In: Remington JS, Klein JO, eds. Infectious diseases of the fetus & newborn infant. 4 ed. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, W.B.Saunders; 1995, pp 108–139.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    D.C. Davidson, and C. Roberts, Bacteriological monitoring of human milk, Arch. Dis. Child. 54:760–764 (1979).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    L. Carroll, M. Osman, D.P. Davies, and A.S. McNeish, Bacteriological criteria for feeding raw breast-milk to babies on neonatal units, Lancet 2:732–733 (1979).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    K.B. Botsford, R.A. Weinstein, K.M. Boyer, C. Nathan, M. Carman, and J.B. Paton, Gram-negative bacilli in human milk feedings: quantitation and clinical consequences for premature infants, J. Pediatr. 109:707–10. (1986).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    J.E. Ford, B.A. Law, V.M. Marshall, and B. Reiter, Influence of the heat treatment of human milk on some of its protective constituents, J. Pediatr. 90:29–35 (1977).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    C.L.J. Paxson, and C.C. Cress, Survival of human milk leukocytes, J. Pediatr. 94:61–64 (1979).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    I. Narayanan, K. Prakash, N.S. Murthy, and V.V. Gujral, Randomised controlled trial of effect of raw and holder pasteurised human milk and of formula on incidence of neonatal infection, Lancet 2:1111–1113 (1984).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Willeitner
    • 1
  • Gert Lipowsky
  • Helmut Küster
  1. 1.Dept. of Pediatrics, Dr. von Haunersches KinderspitalUniversity of MunichMuenchenGermany

Personalised recommendations