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Is Lyme disease contagious?

Contagiousness of Lyme disease

The Lyme disease is an infectious pathology caused by the borrelia burdogferia bacterium that is transmitted by tick bites. But what do we know about human-to-human transmission of Lyme? In general we can say that Lyme is not transmitted from person to person.But there are issues that we need to take into account.

Awareness of Lyme disease is increasing. Awareness and prevention campaigns are having an effect and people now associate Lyme with tick bites in our imagination. But there is still a lot to be done, especially in Europe where between 650,000 and 850,000 people are infected with Lyme disease each year. and there are no general rules common to all countries regarding the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.

Is Lyme disease contagious from person to person?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States states that "There is no evidence that Lyme disease is transmitted from person to person. For example, a person cannot get Lyme disease by touching or kissing a person with Lyme disease.

We will now look at the different routes of transmission by which Lyme disease can be transmittedwhich is one of the most frequently asked questions nowadays.

Is Lyme disease sexually transmitted?

As with diseases such as HIV, herpes or syphilis, there is no doubt about the routes of transmission.We do not know whether we should place Lyme in the same threat category. as there is only one study that opens up this possibility while others reject it.

The CDC's position is clear, Lyme disease cannot be sexually transmitted But it is also true, as the BCA Clinic says, that "this organisation does not have a great track record in Lyme follow-up and what is known as chronic Lyme is still limited".

The study by the team led by Marianne Middelveen was published in 2014 in the Journal of Investigative Medicine and concluded that Lyme could be sexually transmitted by positive Lyme tests. on vaginal secretions and semen from a number of couples participating in the study. However, the ALDF (American Lyme Disease Foundation) criticises the dissemination of this article, creating great alarm in comparison to other studies. studies that have not found any evidence of sexual transmission.

The BCA clinic considers that, Although the likelihood of sexual transmission of Lyme is very low, the answer is not easy and they believe it should be studied in depth. "The theory says that some transmission is possible since the spirochete shares many characteristics with Treponema Pallidum, the microbe that causes syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease".. This feature together with the capacity of the borrellia The BCA experts are cautious about denying the possibility of Lyme being sexually transmitted and call for further studies.

Contagiousness of Lyme disease in pregnancy

One of the recurring themes in discussions about Lyme is whether the pregnant woman can transmit Lyme disease to her unborn child. Differences of opinion in the scientific community stem from the lack of studies. On the one hand, it is estimated that the risk of transmission from a mother with Lyme disease to the foetus may be 20 percent. However, this probability increases if the mother contracts Lyme during pregnancy. In any case, even those who claim that the likelihood of transmission is very low argue that personalised antibiotic treatment limits the risk.

Transmission or contagion by contact or cohabitation

The bacteria borrelia is not transmitted through air, water, food or human-to-human contact. In many cases, when several family members are infected, there is often talk of transmission. However, It is more likely that all of these infections are due to exposure of the whole family to the bacteria because of the environment in which they live.

This is what happens in the case of model Bella Hadid. Her mother also suffers from Lyme, as does her brother, but environmental factors are more likely, as they all lived on a farm. It is estimated that one out of three ticks is contaminated with borreliaThe likelihood of contracting the disease in areas with a high tick population is high.

It should be noted that borrelia can be transmitted in a blood donation, for instance. Although, again, there is no evidence of this transmission factor, we do know that one of the most typical co-infections, babesiosis, is transmitted by blood transfusions - could borrelia do the same?

Generally speaking, we can say that there is no transmission of Lyme disease through sexual or human-to-human contact or contact between the foetus and the mother. However, we know that there is still a lot of research to be done on the diagnosis of Lyme disease and the prevention of stings are two ways to keep the disease at bay.

Mariano Bueno

Dr. Mariano Bueno and his team

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