Bottle-feeding can prevent transmission of HTLV-I from mothers to their babies

J Infect. 1989 Jul;19(1):25-9. doi: 10.1016/s0163-4453(89)94772-5.


Breast-feeding is a major factor in the vertical transmission of human T-lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I). We studied whether such transmission may be prevented by bottle-feeding. HTLV-I infection was detected by both HTLV-I antigen and antibody tests. Thirty bottle-fed babies were examined 24 months after birth; only one was found to be HTLV-I antigen-positive. This infection rate was lower than that for breast-fed babies in whom HTLV-I antigen was detected in 24 of the 31 24-month-old babies born to HTLV-I positive mothers in a previous study. These results suggest that most vertical transmission of HTLV-I is attributable to breast-feeding and can be prevented by bottle-feeding.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bottle Feeding*
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / immunology
  • HTLV-I Antibodies / analysis
  • HTLV-I Antigens / analysis
  • HTLV-I Infections / prevention & control
  • HTLV-I Infections / transmission*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy


  • HTLV-I Antibodies
  • HTLV-I Antigens