Infants born from mothers with multiple blood-borne viral infections are at risk of multiple transmissions. Whether the risk of transmission of multiple infections increases with the number of viruses infecting the mother is still unknown. The aim of this study was to describe the risk of mother-to-infant transmission of multiple infections from multi-infected mothers. Sixty-four pregnant women infected by at least two viruses among human immunodeficiency virus-type 1 (HIV-1), hepatitis C virus, TT virus, and GB virus type C, together with their 64 infants, were studied. Maternal blood samples were collected in the third trimester of pregnancy and all infants were prospectively followed for evaluation of transmission within 3 months after birth and two times in the subsequent 24 months. Transmission of single and of dual infection from mothers infected by two viruses was, respectively, 10/40 (25%) and 5/40 (12.5%) and from mothers infected by three viruses 9/20 (45%) and 2/20 (10%). One (25%) infant infected by one virus was born from the four mothers infected by four viruses. Transmission of single or dual infection was not significantly associated with the number of viruses infecting the mother (P = 0.9) in the linear regression analysis. Present study suggests the absence of a synergistic effect from viral interactions toward mother-to-infant transmission of multiple infections and supports the hypothesis that transmission from multi-infected mothers is the result of the specific interaction between each virus and the host. These observations may be of clinical relevance in perinatal counseling.
(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.