Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

Font Size

Bird Flu May Pass to Fetus via Womb

Bird Flu Virus May Not Stay Only in the Lungs, Researchers Report
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 27, 2007 -- The H5N1 bird flu virus may be able to pass from a pregnant woman to her fetus via the womb.

That news appears in tomorrow's edition of The Lancet.

The researchers -- who included Professor Jiang Gu, MD, of the Infectious Disease Center at China's Peking University -- studied autopsy results from a Chinese woman who died of bird flu when she was about four months pregnant.

Gu and colleagues found traces of the H5N1 bird flu virus in the woman's fetus.

The pregnant woman -- and an unrelated Chinese man who also died of bird flu -- had the bird flu virus in their lungs. They also had the bird flu virus in other parts of their bodies, including their trachea, brain, and lymph system.

"In addition to the lungs, H5N1 influenza virus infects the trachea and disseminates to other organs including the brain," Gu's team writes, adding that "the virus could also be transmitted from mother to fetus across the placenta."

The new molecular techniques used by Gu and colleagues "have pitfalls," so the findings should be checked in lab tests, write Wai Fu Ng, MD, and colleagues in an editorial published with the study.

Ng works in the pathology department of Hong Kong's Royal Margaret Hospital.

Today on WebMD

hot toddy
15 tips to help you feel better.
man sneezing into elbow
Do echinacea and vitamin C really help a cold?
teen girl coughing
Get a good night’s rest with these remedies.
elder berry
Eat these to fight colds, flu, and more.
Natural Cold Flu Remedies Slideshow
cold weather
Allergy And Sinus Symptom Evaluator
Boy holding ear
woman receiving vaccine shot
woman with fever
Waking up from sleep
woman with sore throat