Maternal Child Transmission of Lyme disease. Ticks are not the only mode of transmission -babies can be infected in-utero.
Sue Faber Testimony in front of Standing Health Committee, June 2017
What is Transplacental Transmission?
What does the CDC say?
What does the March of Dimes say?
The March of Dimes also has information on Lyme disease and pregnancy and here they go a step further than the CDC and they partially answer my question about untreated Lyme and it’s potential effects on the baby including placental infection, stillbirth, congenital heart defects, urinary tract defects, jaundice and rashes.
Ontario Public Health is wrong when they say:
So can Lyme be passed from mother to child, is there evidence? What is the truth?
Transplacental transmission has been reported and agreed upon by the world's leading pioneer scientists, researchers and clinicians in Lyme disease. Below is a paper compiled by LymeHope - 32 Years of Documentation of Maternal-Child Transmission of Lyme Disease and Congenital Lyme Disease.
Lyme Disease is a complex multi-system disease which can cause chronic progressive infection in adults and children alike. This has been well documented in the literature.
Diagnosis of Congenitally infected infants
Lyme can affect all systems in the body - so a heterogeneous (diverse) range of symptoms in infected babies makes sense.
Multi-system symptoms associated with congenital transmission reported by world's leading Lyme Paediatrician Dr Charles Ray Jones.
2016: Current concepts of Infections of the Fetus and Newborn Infant - Chapter 1
Those who are healthcare professionals will be familiar with the Acromym TORCH used to describe the most common infectious organisms which can be transmitted through pregnancy, As you can see here Remington and Klein have expanded that acronym to TORCHES CLAP which was needed to include other well described causes of in-utero infection including L = Lyme disease.
Table 1-5 – Effects of Transplacental Infection on the Fetus and Newborn Infant. If we go over 5 columns we can see that under Disease and then under Congenital Disease we have an extensive list including Borrelia Burgdorferi as highlighted by yellow circle and red arrows on the slide.
Some experts have suggested that understanding Congenital Syphilis may be helpful in understanding Congenital Lyme.
Let's start from the very beginning..when transplacental transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi was first discovered.
1985: Maternal -Fetal Transmission of Lyme Disease Spirochete (first case report)
1986: Dr Willy Burgdorfer 'The Enlarging Spectrum of Tick-Borne Spirochetoses: R.R. Parker Memorial Address.
Dr Burgdorfer - a pioneer in Lyme disease research - discovered the bacterial pathogen that causes Lyme disease. The spirochete named Borrelia burgdorferi was named in his honor. He also co-authored a paper on Stillbirth following maternal Lyme disease with Dr Alan Macdonald and Dr Benach. To see his entire speech from 1986, click on radio button below.
1988: Borrelia burgdorferi in newborn despite oral penicillin for Lyme borreliosis during pregnancy
1988, Clinical Pathologic Correlations of Lyme disease by Stage by Dr Alan Steere and Dr Paul Duray
The excerpt and picture above is from a top-tier, world renowned, medical journal and authored by medical doctors and researchers including Dr Alan Steere and Dr Paul Duray. Title: Clinical Pathologic Correlations of Lyme Disease by Stage Authors: Duray, P. and Steere, Alan, C. 1988. Annals of the New York Academy of Science Vol: 539:65-79 Correspondence: PAUL H. DURAY Department of Pathology Fox Chase Cancer Center Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ALLEN C. STEERE Department of Internal Medicine Division of Rheumatology Tufts University School of Medicine Boston, Massachusetts 02111. These authors were/are the leading Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) researchers - they also worked with the Centers for Disease Control.
'It is clear that B. Burgdorferi can be transmitted in the blood of infected pregnant women across the placenta into the fetus.This has now been documented with resultant congenital infections and fetal demise. Spirochetes can be recovered or seen in infant's tissues including the brain, spleen and kidney. The chorionic villi of the placenta show and increase in Hofbauer cells as in luetic placentitis. Inflammatory changes of fetal or neonatal changes are not as pronounced as in the adult, but cardiac abnormalities, including intracardiac septal defects, have been seen. It is not known why inflammatory cells are so sparse from maternal transmisson but it is possible that an immature immune system plays a role.'
1988 - Health and Welfare Canada reports on Transplacental Transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi.
We are deeply concerned that this serious alternate mode of transmission of Lyme disease and potentially other co-infections has not been adequately addressed in Canada since this report. It has been 30 years since this report was published and yet most physicians and general public are completely unaware of the potential for mother to child transmission of Lyme disease. We know of many families whereby all the children have Lyme disease and the parents are concerned it was passed through pregnancy. We believe mother to child transmission to be an urgent research priority. This same report can be found in: Lyme disease in Canada. Epidemiologic Report. CMAJ Vol. 139, Aug 1, 1988.
1989 -Immunologic Aspects of Lyme Borreliosis by Dr's Dattwyler, Volkman and Luft
Informative Case Study on Congenital Transmission of Lyme Found in: Dattwyler R, Volkman D and Luft B. Immunologic aspects of Lyme borreliosis. Review of Infectious Diseases Vol 11(6), 1989.
'In humans, B burgdorferi (Lyme) is capable of infecting the fetus. Sequelae (including abortion and fetal abnormalities) have been associated with infection. Borrelia-specific antibodies have been found in the CSF of an infant with evidence of neonatal neurologic dysfunction whose mother had been infected in the second trimester. The mother who was asymptomatic, had been treated with oral antibiotics and did not have diagnostic levels of antibodies to B burgdorferi at the time of parturition (authors’ unpublished observations). Effective therapy to eradicate borreliae on both the maternal and the fetal side of the placenta is essential, as persistent infection may be difficult to diagnosed after the initial course of antibiotics."
1989 - Perspective of Treatment with Lyme Borreliosis by Dr's Luft, Gorevic, Halperin, Volkman and Dattwyler
Luft B, Gorevic P, Halperin J, Volkman D, Dattwyler R. A Perspective on the Treatment of Lyme Borreliosis. Review of Infectious Diseases Vol 11(6), 1989. Authors state: "The aim of treatment of early Lyme disease during pregnancy is not only to treat the infection and prevent long-term sequalae but to eliminate the infection as quickly as possible so as to prevent congenital transmission to the fetus. Recently Weber et al. reported the congenital transmission of B burgdorferi to an infant whose mother was treated with 1 million units of oral penicillin for 7 days. Given the significant treatment failure rate described by Steere et al in patients treated with 250mg of oral penicillin (more than 50% who developed 'minor' and 'major' disease), it would seem reasonable to administer more vigorous treatment to pregnant patients with acute EM. No study has established the optimal treatment in this instance; however either oral amoxicillin plus probenicid or parenteral ceftriaxone has been used. Further studies must establish the duration of therapy necessary to eradicate the infection and thus to prevent congenital transmission." *** Authors in this paper are concerned because congenital transmission IS happening/has been reported and they want to PREVENT congenital transmission and so they are questioning what the appropriate antibiotic therapy should be. This is not a question of it's 'plausible' or 'theoretically possible' that this alternate mode of transmission occurs. It IS happening. It has been PROVEN.
1989 - Gestational Lyme borreliosis: Implications for the Fetus - Dr Alan MacDonald
1994 - A most unusual case of a whole family suffering from Late Lyme borreliosis for over 20 years
1997 - Neonatal skin lesions due to a spirochetal infection: a case of congenital Lyme borreliosis?
1999 - Erythema Migrans in Pregnancy
2001 - Lyme Disease - Chapter 11 in Infectious Diseases of the Fetus and Newborn Infant - 5th edition
Gestational Lyme borreliosis is not a question of plausibility for Dr Gardner, it is a proven fact. She advises other pediatricians that 'In order for infants with congenital Lyme borreliosis to be recognized/diagnosed, it is essential for clinicians caring for newborns and infants to become familiar with the various manifestations of Lyme borreliosis in the adult, as well as in the congenitally infected infant.’
We presented the Parliamentary Standing Health Committee with an original textbook - 5th edition of Infectious Diseases of the Fetus and Newborn Infant, 2001 - with Chapter 11 written by Dr Tessa Garder - Pediatric Infectious Diseases trained at Harvard University. We asked that this textbook be filed as evidence documenting the existence of Gestational Lyme Borreliosis resulting from transplacental transmission.
2005 - A case of Congenital Neuroborreliosis
2005 - Gestational Lyme Disease Case Studies of 102 Live Births