DIAGNOSIS

  • isolation of the virus from the blood

  • detection of antibodies

INFECTIOUS AGENT

  • human T-cell leukemia virus

  • type 1 has been implicated in the causation of leukemia and lymphoma by serologic, virologic, and epidemiologic evidence

  • type 2 was initially isolated from two cases of hairy cell leukemia (causality has not yet been established)

MODE OF TRANSMISSION

  • person-to-person transmission by blood (transfusions and shared needles) and by sexual contact

  • transplacental transmission is possible

DISTRIBUTION

  • virus is present on all continents

  • cases of HTLV-1 infection have clustered in the Caribbean, south-western Japan, parts of Central and South America, Africa, Italy, and the southern United States

  • HTLV-2 is commonly found in intravenous drug abusers

INCUBATION PERIOD AND COMMUNICABILITY

  • incubation period is several years and may be as long as 20 years

  • communicability is unknown

TREATMENT

  • response of ATLL to conventional chemotherapeutic regimens has been poor

  • corticosteroids are helpful in some cases

PREVENTION AND CONTROL

  • avoidance of sexual or blood contact with an infected person

  • screening of donated blood for the virus (types 1 and 2)

FACTORS FACILITATING EMERGENCE

  • medical technology (transfusion)

  • possibly increased intravenous drug abuse



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