Last update Jan. 6, 2021

Maternal Tick-borne Encephalitis (arbovirus/flavivirus)

Likely Compatibility

Fairly safe. Mild or unlikely adverse effects. Compatible under certain circumstances. Follow-up recommended. Read Commentary.

Acute disease of the central nervous system that is caused by an arbovirus of the Flavivirus genus with three subtypes: The European strain (which includes the Kumlinge virus from Finland), the siberian strain and the far eastern strain (ISCIII 2016, ECDC 2015).
It is contracted after the byte of an infected ticks from the Ixodes species and by ingesting unpasteurized dairy products from infected goats, sheep or cows. Besides ticks, small rodents and less frequently other animals can serve as reservoirs (ECDC 2015).
Approximately ⅔ of infected individuals do not develop symptoms although the rest, after only having flu-like symptoms for 1 to 2 weeks, develop meningoencephalitis with frequent neurological sequelae and a 1 to 3% mortality rate (ISCIII 2016, ECDC 2015).

There is no direct person to person transmission (WHO 2020, ECDC 2015) except for possible maternal to fetal transmission (ECDC 2015). There is little to no evidence that this arbovirus, or in fact any other arbovirus, could be passed on through breast milk (Lawrence 2016, p428).

We found only two citations that mention the possibility of transmission through breast milk and both came from the same old case report (Vaisviliene 1997).
No more case reports have been published regarding this form of transmission. This by itself should represent a stark contrast to what is expected since most mothers continue breastfeeding after infection due to the asymptomatic nature of their illness or because at first, and for a long period of time, they only develop flu-like symptoms.

Even though some flavivirus can occasionally be found in breast milk, there is only limited evidence regarding the risk of transmission of flavivirus to babies from breast milk (Mann 2018).

Some expert authors consider that lactation, when possible, should continue if infection from this or other strains of arbovirus would occur (Lawrence 2016 p776).

The inactivated virus vaccine can be administered during lactation (NPA 2020).

See below the information of this related product:

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Maternal Tick-borne Encephalitis (arbovirus/flavivirus) is also known as Maternal Tick-borne Encephalitis (TBE). Here it is a list of alternative known names::


Maternal Tick-borne Encephalitis (arbovirus/flavivirus) belongs to this group or family:


  1. WHO. Pregnancy and breast-feeding. Health topics. 2020 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  2. NPA. National Pharmacy Association. Tick-borne encephalitis vaccination 2020 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  3. Mann TZ, Haddad LB, Williams TR, Hills SL, Read JS, Dee DL, Dziuban EJ, Pérez-Padilla J, Jamieson DJ, Honein MA, Shapiro-Mendoza CK. Breast milk transmission of flaviviruses in the context of Zika virus: A systematic review. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2018 Jul;32(4):358-368. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  4. ISCIII. Instituto de Salud Carlos III. Encefalitis trasmitida por garrapatas. 2016 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  5. Lawrence RA, Lawrence RM. Breastfeeding. A guide for the medical profession. Eighth Edition. Philadelphia: Elsevier; 2016
  6. ECDC. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Factsheet about tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). Factsheet. 2015 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  7. Vaisviliene, D. TBE in Lithuania. In: Süss, J., Kahl, O. (Eds.), Proc. 4th Int. Potsdam Symp. Tick-borne Diseases. Lengerich: Pabst Science Publishers 1997, 100–113. Cited by Mickienė 2015 p9 and Suss 2011 p5. 1997 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)

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