Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R2204



Summary and Implications

Human subclinical mastitis (SCM) is inflammation of mammary tissue without any overt manifestations but is associated with lactation failure, sub-optimal infant growth during the early postpartum period, and increased risk of mother-to-child-transmission of HIV via breast milk. We carried out a rapid survey to determine the prevalence of SCM among lactating Ghanaian women between 3 and 4 months postpartum. Bilateral breast milk samples were obtained from 117 lactating women in Manya Krobo, Ghana and analyzed for sodium (Na) and potassium (K). Additionally we measured maternal mid-upper arm circumference and recorded recent maternal health history. Elevated sodium-potassium ratio above 1.0 was considered indicative of SCM. Overall SCM prevalence among these women was 45.3% of which 29.9% was unilateral. There were no associations between Na/K and maternal health perception, and nutritional status. The high SCM prevalence suggests the need for immediate intervention to reduce SCM and other related maternal and child outcomes.

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University