Lyme Disease and Breastfeeding

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Lyme Disease and Breastfeeding

Lyme disease is caused by a microorganism known as a spirochete, which is carried by ticks. In the US, the number of states in which Lyme disease has been reported is increasing.

Because scientists have confirmed that the Lyme spirochete can be transmitted to the unborn baby via the placenta, concern has been raised that it might be transmitted via breastfeeding. There is no research documentation confirming the presence of the spirochete in human milk or transmission by breastfeeding, which is unlikely according to Dr. Robert Craven of the Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases of the Centers for Disease Control in Ft. Collins, Colorado. To be absolutely safe Dr. Craven suggests that, if a mother is suspected of having acute Lyme disease, her baby should be evaluated by a physician. Appropriate antibiotic therapy can be prescribed if Lyme disease is suspected. Even in affected areas there appears to be no reason for pregnant women not to choose breastfeeding or for breastfeeding mothers to wean their babies.

La Leche League International, Inc.

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By Julie Stock

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