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J Clin Virol. 1999 Sep;14(1):37-50.

An apparent case of human T-cell lymphotropic virus type II (HTLV-II)-associated neurological disease: a clinical, molecular, and phylogenetic characterisation.

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  • 1Gene Therapy and Molecular Virology Group, The John P. Robarts Research Institute, London, Ont., Canada.


Several studies have reported an association between HTLV-II and a neurological condition which has come to be called HTLV-II-associated myelopathy and is similar, in some cases, to HTLV-I-associated myelopathy. To further explore the establishment of an etiological link between this virus and neurological disease, we determined the HTLV status of three individuals, one of which presented with symptoms of progressive ataxia. Since the patient with neurological disease and her husband were HTLV-II positive, we had the potential to study one of few cases of an HTLV-II-associated neurological disorder, and the first case in Canada. However, although the individual with the neurological disease was HTLV-II positive, we discovered that her brother, who displays the same clinical symptoms, was not positive for either HTLV-II or HTLV-I. Thus, disease association with HTLV-II became unsupportable. We present here, nevertheless, the first sequence and phylogenetic analysis of an HTLV-II isolate in Canada. This study suggests that cases of HTLV-II and neurological disease must be carefully investigated before any etiological conclusions can be made.

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