Vector-borne diseases in pregnancy

Published Date
Therapeutic Advances in Infectious Disease
Ther Adv Infect Dis. 2020;7:2049936120941725.
O'Kelly B
Lambert JS

Vector-borne infections cause a significant proportion of world-wide morbidity and mortality and many are increasing in incidence. This is due to a combination of factors, primarily environmental change, encroachment of human habitats from urban to peri-urban areas and rural to previously uninhabited areas, persistence of poverty, malnutrition and resource limitation in geographical areas where these diseases are endemic. Pregnant women represent the single largest ‘at risk’ group, due to immune-modulation and a unique physiological state. Many of these diseases have not benefitted from the same level of drug development as other infectious and medical domains, a factor attributing to the ‘neglected tropical disease’ title many vector-borne diseases hold. Pregnancy compounds this issue as data for safety and efficacy for many drugs is practically non-existent, precluding exposure in pregnancy to many first-line therapeutic agents for ‘fear of the unknown’ or overstated adverse pregnancy-foetal outcomes. In this review, major vector-borne diseases, their impact on pregnancy outcomes, current treatment, vaccination and short-comings of current medical practice for pregnant women will be discussed.