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Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. 2002 Sep-Oct;35(5):499-508.

[Infection and disease caused by the human T cell lymphotropic viruses type I and II in Brazil].

[Article in Portuguese]

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Fundação Hemominas, Belo Horizonte, MG.


HTLV-I/II infection is present in all regions of Brazil, but its prevalence varies according to the geographical area, being higher in Bahia, Pernambuco and Pará. It has been estimated that Brazil has the highest absolute number of infected individuals in the world. Blood donors screening and research conducted with special groups (indigenous population of Brazil, IV drug users and pregnant women) are the major sources of information about these viruses in our Country. HTLV-I causes adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL), HTLV associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP), HTLV associated uveitis (HAU), dermatological and immunological abnormalities. HTLV-II is not consistently associated with any disease. Diagnosis is established using screening (enzymatic assays, agglutination) and confirmatory (Western blot, PCR) tests. The viruses are transmitted by blood and contaminated needles, by sexual relations and from mother to child, especially by breast feeding. Prevention efforts should focus on education of positive blood donors, infected mothers and IV drug users.

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