Prevalence of Subclinical Mastitis in Ghanaian Women Based on
Elevated Sodium:Potassium Ratio
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.