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Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants
SJR: 0.332 SNIP: 0.491 CiteScore™: 0.89

ISSN Print: 1050-6934
ISSN Online: 1940-4379

Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

DOI: 10.1615/JLongTermEffMedImplants.v13.i2.70
14 pages

Global Epidemic of Human T-Cell Lymphotrophic Virus Type-I (HTLV-I): An Update

Richard Edlich
Legacy Verified Level I Shock Trauma Center Pediatrics and Adults, Legacy Emanual Hospital; and Plastic Surgery, Biomedical Engineering and Emergency Medicine, University of Virginia Health System, USA
Lisa G. Hill
Plastic Surgery Research Program, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia
Freddie M. Williams
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts


Infection with human T-cell lymphotrophic virus-I (HTLV-I) is now a global epidemic, affecting 10 to 20 million people. This virus has been linked to life-threatening, incurable diseases, adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL), and HTLV-I associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP), as well as several chronic illnesses, such as uveitis and dermatitis. The cumulative lifetime risk of developing these incurable diseases is approximately 5% in asymptomatic patients. For operating room personnel performing surgery among patients from high-risk groups, HTLV-I and its associated diseases are presenting an increasing challenge. This report describes its transmission, seroprevalence, treatment, and public health initiatives that must be instituted to prevent the spread of this retrovirus. Coinfection with HTLV-I and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has been shown to accelerate the progression of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).