As Florida Gov. Rick Scott pushes for more federal funding to combat Zika, a breast milk bank in Orlando is expressing concern about the virus’ future impact on its supply of donated breast milk, according to Health News Florida.
The Mothers’ Milk Bank of Florida, a nonprofit organization that collects, processes and distributes donated breast milk, tells Health News Florida that although the donated breast milk does not run the risk of infecting healthy babies with Zika — since the pasteurization process kills the virus — there are other concerns.
“Most of our donors are upper income, well-educated, older moms and there’s a good chance, or I expect that they’re probably going to delay pregnancy when they can,” Kandis Natoli, the bank’s executive director, told Health News Florida.
In other words, since Zika has been found to have the most devastating effects on babies whose mothers are infected with the virus while pregnant, more women may delay pregnancy thereby reducing the number of donors to the bank and the amount of available milk.
Health officials in Florida on Tuesday reported the total number of Zika cases in the state to be 799, including 634 travel-related infections, 70 non-travel related infections, and 86 cases involving pregnant women. The cases of non-travel infections have been concentrated in Miami-Dade County.
“Florida’s small case cluster is not considered widespread transmission, however, pregnant women are advised to avoid non-essential travel to the impacted area in Miami-Dade County,” the Florida Department of Health said in a press release. “If you are pregnant and must travel or if you live or work in the impacted area, protect yourself from mosquito bites by wearing insect repellent, long clothing and limiting your time outdoors.”
According to Health News Florida, more than 300 women are now approved to donate breast milk to Mothers’ Milk Bank of Florida.