Gestational Lyme borreliosis. Implications for the fetus.
Great diversity of clinical expression of signs and symptoms of gestational Lyme borreliosis parallels the diversity of prenatal syphilis. It is documented that transplacental transmission of the spirochete from mother to fetus is possible. Further research is necessary to investigate possible teratogenic effects that might occur if the spirochete reaches the fetus during the period of organogenesis. Autopsy and clinical studies have associated gestational Lyme borreliosis with various medical problems including fetal death, hydrocephalus, cardiovascular anomalies, neonatal respiratory distress, hyperbilirubinemia, intrauterine growth retardation, cortical blindness, sudden infant death syndrome, and maternal toxemia of pregnancy. Whether any or all of these associations are coincidentally or causally related remains to be clarified by further investigation. It is my expectation that the spectrum of gestational Lyme borreliosis will expand into many of the clinical domains of prenatal syphilis.