Viruses. 2023 Sep 26;15(10):2002. doi: 10.3390/v15102002.
The main mode of mother-to-child transmission of the human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV)-1 is through breastfeeding. Although the most reliable nutritional regimen to prevent HTLV-1 transmission is exclusive formula feeding, a recent meta-analysis revealed that short-term breastfeeding within 90 days does not increase the risk of infection. The protocol of the Japanese Health, Labor, and Welfare Science Research Group primarily recommended exclusive formula feeding for mothers who are positive for HTLV-1. However, there has been no quantitative research on the difficulties experienced by HTLV-1-positive mothers in carrying out these nutritional regimens, including the psychological burden. Therefore, this review was performed to clarify the burdens and difficulties encountered by mothers who are positive for HTLV-1; to this end, we analyzed the data registrants on the HTLV-1 career registration website “Carri-net” website. The data strongly suggest that it is not sufficient to simply recommend exclusive formula feeding or short-term breastfeeding as a means of preventing mother-to-child transmission; it is important for health care providers to understand that these nutritional regimens represent a major burden for pregnant women who are positive for HTLV-1 and to provide close support to ensure these women’s health.