LDA/Columbia 2011
Scientific Conference

Hyatt Penns Landing

Philadelphia, PA

October 1-2, 2011

Category:  Lyme Transmission and Prevention

Can Lyme disease be transmitted between humans via bodily fluids such as blood, semen, saliva, etc.?

We know that the spirochetes that cause Lyme disease disseminate through the blood stream after the tick bite and then lodge in various tissues of the body, such as the brain, joints, heart. So can Lyme disease be transmitted via blood transfusions, for example? The answer is most likely "yes" given what we know about dissemination. For this reason, the American Red Cross does not accept blood donations from patients with Lyme disease. Regarding other bodily fluids, I know of no evidence finding borrelia burgdorferi spirochetes in saliva. I also know of no published evidence to indicate that viable Lyme spirochetes can be found in semen. Hence, at this point, it is reasonable to assume that Lyme disease cannot be sexually transmitted.

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