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Milk Banking and COVID-19

The KK Human Milk Bank provides an essential service. The milk bank is carefully monitoring ongoing developments regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and how these relate to milk banking.

Breast milk and COVID-19:

The information that has been made available so far suggests that the COVID-19 virus is genetically similar to previous coronaviruses such as the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) viruses. Just like these and other flu viruses, it is thought to spread via respiratory droplets which are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. There is no evidence yet to suggest that this virus is transmitted via breast milk

Heat inactivation of the virus:

Studies have documented complete inactivation of the SARS and MERS viruses by heat treatment at 600C for 30 minutes. There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 is any different. All donor milk at the KK Human Milk Bank undergoes heat treatment by the Holder Pasteurisation method at 62.50C for 30 minutes.

Additional measures at the KK Human Milk Bank:

The milk bank has temporarily deferred donor recruitment till 4 May 2020.

In addition to the stringent measures for donor screening and milk handling which are already in place, the milk bank has also implemented the following in accordance with the recommendations from the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) and European Milk Banking Association (EMBA):

  1. Donors are required to provide a detailed history regarding overseas travel and recent illness including all family members in the home. Donors are deferred for 28 days in case of significant history.
  2. Existing donors have been advised to inform the milk bank if they have any respiratory symptoms or any contact with COVID-19 cases or suspects. Donations from such donors are temporarily deferred.

We will continue to stay vigilant and monitor the situation to ensure that safe pasteurised donor human milk is available for all vulnerable babies.

If you have any concerns, please contact the milk bank via email at milkbank@kkh.com.sg or call 63941986.


References:

  1. https://www.hmbana.org/file_download/inline/a04ca2a1-b32a-4c2e-9375-44b37270cfbd
  2. https://europeanmilkbanking.com/covid-19-emba-position-statement/