Inaccurate Information Online Regarding Breastfeeding with Lyme Disease

07.13.2011

 

When faced with a health concern, the first place that many people go is the internet. Although having medical advice at your fingertips is convenient, your search bar may not be the best bet for obtaining accurate information. A study done on the validity of information found online regarding Lyme disease showed that many websites, claiming to be leaders in information regarding Lyme disease, were providing inaccurate information, especially about breastfeeding while infected with Lyme disease.

 Just to clear up any confusion, the antigenic material of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, is transferred into human breastmilk. While there has yet to be a case in which an infant was infected through a mother’s milk, it is not known if that genetic material is infectious or not. Thus, it is recommended that if the mother is diagnosed post-partum or while breastfeeding, she should seek immediate treatment and withhold breastfeeding until beginning an appropriate antibiotic regimen. The recommended antibiotic for the treatment of Lyme disease in non-pregnant adults is doxycycline, however, doxycycline is not ideal for breastfeeding mothers due to its long half-life and greater uptake into human milk than alternative treatments. Other antibiotics such as amoxicillin, cefuroxime, clarithromycin and azithromycin are preferred since their levels of transmission into breastmilk have been measured and are minimal.

There are several sites that provide accurate information about Lyme disease like www.cdc.gov or www.acponline.org. However, there are many other websites that provide grossly inaccurate information. So, while it is important to be an informed advocate for your own health, be sure to review information found online with a critical eye and discuss any internet diagnosis with your physician before beginning treatment.

For more information:
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/lyme/resources/ld_internet.pdf

 

 

Laura Muscianese MS1
Thomas W. Hale, Ph.D.

 

 

References:
1. Cooper, JD, Feder MH Jr. Inaccurate information about Lyme disease on the internet. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2004;23:1105–1108.
2. Hale, T.W. (2010). Medication and Mother’s Milk (14th ed.). Amarillo, TX: Hale Publishing.