Current Interventions to Prevent HTLV-1 Mother-to-Child Transmission and Their Effectiveness: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

by | Nov 11, 2022 | Publications

Microorganisms. 2022 Nov 10;10(11):2227. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms10112227.


Human T lymphotropic virus 1 (HTLV-1) may be transmitted from mother to child and affects at least 5-10 million individuals worldwide, with severe consequences on health. Strategies to prevent transmission are important, as there is no treatment or vaccine. This systematic review aimed to identify interventions to prevent HTLV-1 mother-to-child transmission and to determine their effectiveness. Exclusive formula feeding, short-term breastfeeding, use of freeze-thaw milk, milk pasteurization, maternal and infant antiretroviral drugs, caesarean section, early clamping of umbilical cord, screening of milk donors and avoidance of cross-breastfeeding were identified as possible strategies. Avoidance of breastfeeding is an intervention that prevents 85% of transmissions. This strategy is recommended in Japan, Brazil, Colombia, Canada, Chile, Uruguay, the USA and some regions of French Guyana. Whilst breastfeeding for <3 months does not increase the risk of transmission compared to exclusive formula-feeding, concerns remain regarding the limited number of studies outside Japan, and the lack of information on women having higher risk of HTLV-1 transmission and on the ability of women to discontinue breastfeeding. Additional interventions are plausible, but data on their effectiveness are limited. The acceptance of interventions is high. These findings may guide healthcare professionals and support policymakers in implementing policies to avoid HTLV-1 mother-to-child transmission.

PMID:36363819 | DOI:10.3390/microorganisms10112227

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