Is Autoimmune diseases Contagious?
Is Autoimmune diseases contagious?:
Autoimmune diseases are not normally contagious.
You cannot catch an autoimmune disease from another person
like you can a virus or bacteria.
Autoimmune diseases are not contagious by sex or by blood.
The only known transfer of autoimmunity occurs between mother and fetus
during pregnancy, and is still rare even in affected mothers.
Even autoimmune diseases caused by white blood cells
do not seem to be contagious by shared needles,
blood transfusion or organ transplant.
Although we are unaware of direct research on this issue,
what may happen is that the number of white blood cells transferred by
these methods is relatively small.
The normal white blood cells and other normal immune controls presumably
neutralize any disease-causing properties of the autoimmune person's white blood cells.
Researchers have been able to transfer some autoimmune diseases
in mice by transferring certain white blood cells.
However, this only occurs when the mice are already immune-deficient
specially bred mice, who are already prone to autoimmune disease.
Thus, autoimmune diseases may be theoretically transmissible by blood transfusions
to an already immunocompromised person,
but we are unware of any actual case of this occurring.
Mother-to-fetus transmission of autoimmune disease can occur.
For example, mothers with lupus can give birth to babies
with neonatal lupus;
similarly myasthenia gravis can cause neonatal myasthenia gravis.
Organ transplants are also unlikely to transfer autoimmune disease, if at all.
Presumably, the amount of white blood cells is still relatively small,
and the person's normal immune system handles it (even though
transplant patients are immunocompromised).
The main disease from organ transplants is graft-versus-host disease,
which is a special type of disease only occurring in transplant patients.
This is not the same issue as a person getting an autoimmune disease
after an organ transplant.
Contagiousness properties for Autoimmune diseases:
Yes but extremely unlikely, only in rare mother-to-fetus contagion.
Contagious by droplet?:
Contagious by sex?:
Contagious by physical contact (non-sexual)?:
Contagious from saliva?:
Contagious from blood?:
Contagious from blood transfusion?:
No, only theoretically possible (no cases known in our research).
Contagious from intravenous needle usage?:
Contagious from needlestick injury?:
Contagious from organ transplant?:
Extremely unlikely, only theoretically possible (no cases known in our research).
Contagious from mother to fetus (transplacental)?:
Yes, in rare cases, see neonatal lupus and neonatal myasthenia gravis.
Contagious breastfeeding mother to infant?:
Contagious from insect bite (or exposure)?:
No autoimmune disease has ever
been shown to be contagious or "catching." Autoimmune diseases do not spread to
other people like infections. They are not related to AIDS, nor are they a type
of cancer. (Source: excerpt from Understanding Autoimmune Disease: NIAID)
About contagion and contagiousness:
Contagion and contagiousness refers to how easily
the spread of Autoimmune diseases is possible from one person to another.
Other words for contagion include "infection", "infectiousness",
"transmission" or "transmissability".
Contagiousness has nothing to do with genetics
or inheriting diseases from parents.
For an overview of contagion,
see Introduction to Contagion.