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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Is it true that Lyme can be transmitted sexually?

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Author Topic: Is it true that Lyme can be transmitted sexually?
Nessa1815
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Someone said that it can be. My husband had it and got rid of it when he was a young boy. Is it true that I could have gotten this from HIM? I always thought that was a theory. If that's the case, I've had this for 4 years...well, almost 5.

I did however, have a bite in early Jan...dunno if it was from a tick or not, but I did have a bite, then in early March...BOOM...the neuro stuff set in...big time and has only gotten worse.

Is this a theory or something they are scientifically investigating or is this a fact. Not that I'm doubting the person who told me this, just wanted to make sure.

Thanks.

--------------------
"~*~My smile hides my bite~*~."

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NanaDubo
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I have heard that there is evidence that it can be transmitted sexually. There is information about it in the "newbie links". I'm sure others will chime in.
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sixgoofykids
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The short answer is, we don't know. Some LLMD's say yes, mine and some others say no.

The tick puts the bacteria into your blood. Sexual relations does not. So, we just don't know since couples spend time at the same places together so are exposed to the same ticks.

I contracted Lyme before we were married, we've been married 23 years and hubby still does not have it. Perhaps I would be more concerned about transmission this way if this weren't the case.

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lpkayak
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it's cumulative too. lots of people have it from numerous bites...maybe ticks, maybe fleas , black flies lice...and maybe from semen or blood transfusion or breast milk.

we know its in the other bugs...we know its in semen and breast milk

the science isn't complete on whether or not it can be transmitted that way

but why does it matter?

we get exposed to these things over and over...when exposed from a nymph it's hard to know it even happened...and then somewhere along the way we get enough to be symptomatic and our lyme journey begins

i say i became symptomatic in the early 80's ... but the more i know about it the more i realized i was exposed almost from the day i was born...in the 50's

camping at montalk...living all over nj and ct and ny

i now think my childhood sinus problems and growing pains and leaning disabilities were all lyme related. i just thought it was normal. so did everyone else.

i tuffed it out my whole life and then after a difficult pregnancy and other stresses i hit the wall...got the BIG pain...and was on my lyme journey

so many people out there are infected and are giving blood and having sex and giving it to biting insects that just go on to give it to their next host...what does it matter , really... if you don't get it sexually you'll get it another way.

unless you are one of the lucky ones with the immune system that can stop it from taking hold in you

--------------------
Lyme? Its complicated. Educate yourself.

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Alv
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lpkayak
YOU ARE right!

I think I had that since a child....and than the growing pain was normal...as every body was saying they felt the same.

A reinfection ( 2 times ) last 5 years .brought me to the death sentence.

it activated everything and no body had a clue.Symtoms were crazy and sure they gave me tons of disease, cancer, leukemia, lupus , rhematoid arthritis, depresion , kidney problem, heart problems, Physical therapies.

The symtoms changed crazy .Even myself could nto figured out what it was , until one day at work a heat wave went from head to toe and LYME woke up so did all coinfections and I was had seazires and I ended up in ER 3 times in 48hrs.I told them every thing hurt -mostly I feel somthing is in myhead .

They were clueless....The more I read and I went back to think ...I had that for at least i can recall 35 years -but treatment with antibiotics for other infections , put it in remission.

My partner and I have been reinfected in the backyeard..and we both recall high fevers when we were little for no reason ...and cramps on our legs...and knee pain .We all thought is arthritis as we have to live with it.

It was the infection from the begining.We just kept getting reinfected over and over and not beein treated for that .

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Dawnee
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My LLMD says absolutely yes.
My husband shows signs of LD as well as all 3 of my kids. Still saving up the $200 a piece for them to get IgeneX tested.

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lymebytes
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My ILADS LLMD (former ILADS pres) made a POINT of telling me and my husband that we can "ping-pong" it. When I responded with "Ain't no ping-pong goin' on here with this pain" He laughed and said, "Through saliva too, my dear".

It makes total sense, Bb has been found in semen, saliva and more.

Take care.

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NJLyme82
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I had concerns about this too. The big questions is, should people with Lyme take extra precautions they otherwise wouldn't have?

--------------------
I was diagnosed with and treated for late stage Lyme in 1991 with 6 weeks of doxycycline. Initially felt better, but then developed health problems that last until today.

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sparkle7
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We've had threads about this before... do a search & you will find them.

My opinion is, is that the tick has chemicals in it's saliva that make it so your body does not know the bacteria is present. So - you need to get it from a tick so the chemical reaction can take place via the tick's saliva. Do a search on Google about tick saliva & Lyme & you will see what comes up.

This has been researched in many studies & proven (about tick saliva). Just because the bacteria is in body fluids does not mean someone can get it from you.

If this were the case, everyone on planet earth would have Lyme by now.

Whether fetuses in the womb can get it - is a different story...

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lpkayak
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just from lots of time and experience dealing with lots and lots of people with lyme i think it can present very differently depending on how you get it: sexually, thru placenta, thru breast milk, thru blood transfusion or from a bug (not only ticks...)

--------------------
Lyme? Its complicated. Educate yourself.

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sparkle7
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If it were fairly easy to get without the tick - we would be getting it from mosquitos, biting flies, urine & feces residue in sewage (sorry - not to be gross), etc.

Maybe people do have a low grade form of it from these vectors? I haven't seen any scientific studies about this.

I think there's only one study that "suggests" that it can be sexually transmitted.

I just think it would be very common if it were easily transmitted from person to person via body fluids.

I also think there is a genetic component to the virulence of infection. In my experience, I have met very few black people with Lyme. I have no idea why this is.

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lpkayak
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so many people have it and don't know it it is insane

--------------------
Lyme? Its complicated. Educate yourself.

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tailz
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I have a least 11 dime-sized mosquito bites on my legs at this very moment - all fresh - so please don't downplay mosquitos in all this. One of my infections has had to have come from a mosquito bite, because I never remember a tick.

I got snagged in 1989 by fleas, and then in maybe '98 I took care of a cat with Feline Infectious Peritonitis and the resulting demodex mites. The vet assured me that I was safe if I had an immune system - not that I would have changed anything.

That cat used to lick me on the lips and nose. I have pictures of it. We look like we're married.

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sparkle7
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I don't remember any tick either... I do remember having a bad flu in August when I first moved in the place I live now - about 11 years ago.

We don't always remember being bitten by ticks or have bulls-eye rashes.

I still think you need the tick as part of the vector due to the saliva issue...

BTW - tailz - there was a good show on Coast to Coast AM last night about cell phone radiation. Pretty scary stuff...

http://www.coasttocoastam.com/shows/2008/06/16.html#recap

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Melanie Reber
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"If it were fairly easy to get without the tick - we would be getting it from mosquitos, biting flies, urine ..."

"Maybe people do have a low grade form of it from these vectors? I haven't seen any scientific studies about this."

...

These are only a very few examples of studies available! BTW, W. Burgdorfer claimed that he contracted LD from urine splashed in his eye.


Modes of Transmission:
http://flash.lymenet.org/scripts/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=063374

...

Lyme disease

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. While it is still the most common vector-borne disease in the country, it is also transmitted in other ways. Infection occurs through blood transfusion, organ transplant, casual contact and by congenital means.

Typically, it is contracted with the bite of infected ticks (Amblyomma americanum, Amblyomma maculatum, Haemaphysalis leporispalustris, Ixodes affinis, Ixodes angustus, Ixodes cookei, Ixodes dentatus, Ixodes neotomae, Ixodes pacificus, Ixodes ricinus, Ixodes scapularis, Ixodes spinipalpis, Ixodes texanus, Ixodes Dermacentor albipictus, Ixodes Dermacentor andersoni, Ixodes Dermacentor occidentalis and Ixodes Dermacentor variabilis), however it has also been contracted through infected biting flies, mosquitoes, mites and fleas.


.......

Survival of Borrelia burgdorferi in human blood stored under blood banking conditions.
Nadelman RB, Sherer C, Mack L, Pavia CS, Wormser GP.
Transfusion 1990 30(4):298-301.


Experimental inoculation of Peromyscus spp. with Borrelia burgdorferi: evidence of contact transmission.
Burgess EC, Amundson TE, Davis JP, Kaslow RA, Edelman R.
Am J Trop Med Hyg. 1986 Mar;35(2):355-9.


Erythema migrans in solid-organ transplant recipients.
Maraspin V, Cimperman J, Lotric-Furlan S, Logar M, Ruzic-Sabljic E, Strle F.
Clin Infect Dis. 2006 Jun 15;42(12):1751-4.


Borrelia burgdorferi in a newborn despite oral penicillin for Lyme borreliosis during pregnancy.
Weber K, Bratzke HJ, Neubert U, Wilske B, Duray PH.
Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 7:286-9. 1988.


Lyme disease transmitted by a biting fly.
Luger SW
N Engl J Med 1990 Jun 14;322(24):1752


Ticks and mosquitoes as vectors of Borrelia burgdorferi s. l. in the forested areas of Szczecin.
Kosik-Bogacka DI, Kuźna-Grygiel W, Jaborowska M.
Folia Biol (Krakow). 2007;55(3-4):143-6.


Isolation of the spirochaete Borrelia afzelii from the mosquito Aedes vexans in the Czech Republic.
Halouzka J; Postic D; Hubalek Z.
Med Vet Entomol 1998 Jan;12(1):103-5


Presence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in mites parasitizing small rodents.
Netusil J, Zakovska A, Horvath R, Dendis M, Janouskovcova E.
Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2005 Fall;5(3):227-32.


The spirochetal isolates were from several tick and one flea species, including Amblyomma americanum, A. maculatum, Ixodes scapularis, and Ctenocephalides felis.
Teltow GJ; Fournier PV; Rawlings JA.
Am J Trop Med Hyg 1991 May;44(5):469-74

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princesslee
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My LLMD insists it is sexually transmitted and also says you can get it from any blood sucking vector, not just ticks.

He said the only reason ticks are the only vector studied and the CDC accepts as lyme carrying is because they can be visually found and traced to lyme.

Usually when you get bit by other things such as spiders and mosquitoes, most of the time you don't see it happen and don't find the insect.

My LLMD says I won't get better unless my hubby and I are both treated or I don't have sexual relations with him...still, if he doesn't get treated (he has it and had the lyme shots!) even if I recover I can get it back from him.

I think it's transmittable by other ways as well and may explain why entire families have it.

Take care,

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Lymejul25
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It actually makes sense that it may be transmitted sexually, as Syphilis also is, and that is the only other illness out there that has spirochetes..so knowing that, I wouldn't be surprised if Borrelia Burgdorferi is spread sexually. It is scary..but I believe it is possible.
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Clarissa
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I've had one LLMD say "yes, possibly" and another LLMD say, "I don't think it's possible."

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

--------------------
Clarissa

Because I knew you:
I have been changed for good.

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sparkle7
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This still doesn't take into account the role of the tick saliva in contracting the bacteria.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/04/020409073628.htm

Tick Saliva Genes Key To Lyme Disease Vaccine

ScienceDaily (Apr. 9, 2002) -- KINGSTON, R.I. - April 8, 2002 -

When a deer tick bites a human or other mammalian host, it takes more than 24 hours before the Lyme disease bacterium travels from the tick's gut to the tick's salivary glands and then into the host.

During that time, bioactive proteins in the tick's saliva begin to suppress the mammal's pain response, increase blood flow to the area, and prevent clotting while at the same time battling the mammal's immune system response to the biting arthropod.

Two University of Rhode Island researchers believe that the proteins in the tick's saliva may be the key to developing a new vaccine for preventing Lyme disease and other tick-transmitted infections by protecting hosts against blood-feeding ticks.

The National Institutes of Health recently awarded them $2.3 million to screen for the most promising tick salivary genes over the next five years.

URI entomology Professor Thomas Mather and microbiology Professor David Nelson, director and associate director, respectively, of the URI Center for Vector Borne Disease, discovered the importance of tick saliva as a result of NIH-funded research in the late 1990s.

The new grant will help them pinpoint the genes and proteins that can best be developed into a vaccine.

"Ticks have more than 400 proteins in their saliva, many of which have evolved to help them steal blood from a host animal by inactivating specific factors of the immune system," explained Mather.

"We're attempting to identify, purify, and learn the function of these various proteins, because by disrupting their function we may be able to prevent ticks from feeding and transmitting disease-causing microbes."

Since they began studying the properties of tick saliva in 1994, Mather and Nelson, along with collaborators at NIH, have already identified a significant number of genes that appear promising.

More recently their work has focused on developing a system for rapidly screening additional gene candidates for those that might be effective antigens.

Mather's research team makes ticks drool into capillary tubes by administering a muscle relaxant to the ticks. A precious commodity, the team has collected more tick saliva than any other researchers in the world.

"That saliva has become a real treasure chest of potent molecules for us," Mather said. "It's now just a matter of sorting them out, which to me is very exciting."

While Mather focuses on the proteins in the tick saliva, Nelson is studying the Lyme disease bacterium itself.

"When the bacterium is in the tick's saliva - on its way from the tick's gut to the mammal host's blood - it's in a starvation mode because there aren't enough nutrients in the tick's saliva for it to grow," said Nelson.

"We think we'll be able to find a good vaccine candidate among the genes expressed in the bacterium's physiological response to starvation."

According to Nelson, the Lyme disease bacterium has about 1,000 genes, but he already knows that some aren't good candidates for a vaccine.

"To screen all of them isn't a trivial task. But we can predict which should be screened, so we'll probably only need to look at between 75 and 150."

Once Mather and Nelson identify the best vaccine candidates - either in the tick saliva or in the Lyme disease bacterium - they anticipate a pharmaceutical company will complete the process of developing it into a vaccine.

---

Also- contracting Lyme as a fetus in the womb (congenitally) is different than getting Lyme sexually or from saliva, sneezing, urine, from mosquitoes, etc.

I not saying that it is not possible but I just don't think it happens all that often - if at all. If it did, everyone on planet earth would have Lyme now.

I see alot of healthy people here riding bikes, going to the gym & going to work every day. I live in, basically, ground zero for Lyme transmission - NJ.

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Blackstone
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The current opinion of myself, and the LLMDs I've spoken to, is that it is not currently transmissible. There are infected individuals without spousal infections. Also, a lot of the theories on sexual transmission are based on the fact that some couples are both positive, even if they're not symptomatic. This discounts the fact that couples tend be cohabitant in endemic areas, and have similar chances of exposure to the disease.

Also, Lyme and Syphilis are not the only two spirochete bacteria - Leptospirosis is also a spirochete, and while even found in animal semen, is not transmitted from person to person. In addition, conditions like Yaws and relapsing fever (caused by bacteria in the syphilis and borellia family, respectively) have not been found to be sexually transmitted. In the case of Yaws, it is actually spread skin to skin, which we are sure that lyme is not.

The point being, just because the morphology is similar, doesn't mean that they share all the same infective vectors.

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sixgoofykids
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quote:
Originally posted by Lymejul25:
It actually makes sense that it may be transmitted sexually, as Syphilis also is, and that is the only other illness out there that has spirochetes..so knowing that, I wouldn't be surprised if Borrelia Burgdorferi is spread sexually. It is scary..but I believe it is possible.

Gingivitis is also spirochetes.

--------------------
sixgoofykids.blogspot.com

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Keebler
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-

Oh, I sure recall being shocked to discover that spirochetes of various types are quite plentiful.

Remember, too, that while it's not mentioned in this one article, that Borrelia has over 300 strains. (We only test for one strain, Bb, here in the U.S.)


(one place to begin)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirochete

Spirochaete

From Wikipedia -

Spirochaetes is a phylum of distinctive Gram-negative bacteria, which have long, helically coiled cells.[1] Spirochetes are chemoheterotrophic in nature, with lengths between 5 and 250 m and diameters around 0.1-0.6 m.


Spirochaetes are distinguished from other bacterial phyla by the location of their flagella, sometimes called axial filaments, which run lengthwise between the cell membrane and outer membrane.

These cause a twisting motion which allows the spirochaete to move about. When reproducing, a spirochaete will undergo asexual transverse binary fission.

The spirochaetes are divided into three families (Brachyspiraceae, Leptospiraceae, and Spirochaetaceae), all placed within a single order (Spirochaetales).


Disease-causing members of this phylum include the following:

* Leptospira species, which causes leptospirosis[2]

* Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease

* Borrelia recurrentis, which causes relapsing fever[3]

* Treponema pallidum, which causes syphilis

* Treponema pertenue, which causes yaws


Most spirochaetes are free-living and anaerobic, but there are numerous exceptions, including the above.

Cavalier-Smith has postulated that the Spirochaetes belong in a larger clade called Gracilicutes.[4]

. . . .


- full article at link above.


=======================================


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scanning_electron_microscope

Leptospirosis


Leptospirosis (also known as Weil's disease, canicola fever, canefield fever, nanukayami fever, 7-day fever and many more[1]) is a bacterial zoonotic disease caused by spirochaetes of the genus Leptospira that affects humans and a wide range of animals, including mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles.


It was first described by Adolf Weil in 1886 when he reported an "acute infectious disease with enlargement of spleen, jaundice and nephritis". Leptospira was first observed in 1907 from a post mortem renal tissue slice.[2]

Though being recognised among the world's most common zoonoses, leptospirosis is a relatively rare bacterial infection in humans.

The infection is commonly transmitted to humans by allowing fresh water that has been contaminated by animal urine to come in contact with unhealed breaks in the skin, eyes or with the mucous membranes.

Outside of tropical areas, leptospirosis cases have a relatively distinct seasonality with most of them occurring August-September/February-March.

. . .

Cause

Leptospirosis is caused by a spirochaete bacterium called Leptospira spp. that has at 5 different serovars of importance in the United States causing disease (icterohaemorrhagiae, canicola, pomona, grippotyphosa, and bratislava).[3]


- full article at link above


-

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Peedie
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My husband and I have protected sex. I would not want to risk him getting this terrible disease.

Question: How can anyone say it is not transmitted sexually? Because the partner tests negative?

Look how many people have Lymes - yet get negative test results?

It seems to me it could simply be very fortunate that a partner's immune system is "handling" the disease.

There have been other threads on this subject. Yes there were a few who had partners not infected by this disease (without symptoms).

However I was startled by the number of partners who WERE. And testimony of their mates that there was no other reason for their partner to have LD.

Just my 2 cents.

Peedie

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duke77
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My LLMD says absolutely its sexually transmitted. He treats too many family members and spouses for it to be a coincidence. I said then if it were that easy to spread wouldn't it be an epidemic? He said "its not one?" He mentioned a study done with mice a couple years ago. One was infected with bb on purpose and tested by wb and skin pcr. The other mouse was not infected and tested negative. After several months living in close quarters they both were positive. The scary thing was that it wasn't sexual in their case because they were of the same sex.

quote:
so many people have it and don't know it it is insane

I tend to agree with this statement
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Niere
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I am not a researcher and thus anything I say is anectdotal evidence. However in my experience it does not take 24 hours, 36 hours or whatever to get lyme from a tick.

I know this because I got bit again a few weeks ago and for the first time that I could see developed a bullseye rash.

I am religious about tick checks and am certain that when I found the attached deer tick that it had only been there for two, three hours at the most.

Luckily I was already on antibiotics and the resulting bullseye was very faint. It was a good thing I took pictures of the rash because after 24 hours it was gone. But it was definitely there and based on the pictures my LLMD changed my prescription.

Again, just my anectdotal experience, but I don't believe that tick attachment has to be for a long period of time in order for lyme et al to be transmitted.

Posts: 237 | From Rhode Island | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Keebler
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If the question is to figure it out for the past: who knows?

Some say yes, some say no. There are some confirmed cases of sexual transmission and others where it had a chance but did not transmit.

For now and future, since there may be a chance: precautions, prevention and education are in order.


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Posts: 48021 | From Tree House | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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