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Transfus Med. 2014 Aug;24(4):227-32. doi: 10.1111/tme.12133.

Seroepidemiology of human T-cell lymphotropic virus among Iranian adult thalassemic patients.

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Blood Transfusion Research Center, High Institute for Research and Education in Transfusion Medicine; Department of Clinical Hepatology, Middle East Liver Disease (MELD) Center.



A large number of transfusion-dependent thalassemic patients is at a substantial risk for transfusion-transmitted infections. Human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV) is a blood-borne pathogen and can be transmitted via cellular products. We aimed to evaluate the seroprevalence of HTLV in transfusion-dependent thalassemic patients referred to Tehran Adult Thalassemia Clinic.


From 2008 to 2010, 257 transfusion-dependent thalassemic patients who referred to Tehran Adult Thalassemia Clinic were enrolled. The seroprevalence of HTLV, hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and HIV were assessed using enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA). Also, the samples with positive result for anti-HTLVAb (by ELISA) were reassessed using Western blot for HTLV.


Among the 257 transfusion-dependent thalassemic patients who were tested for anti-HTLVAb, 29 (11.3%, 95% CI = 7.8-15.6%) were found to be anti-HTLVAb positive by ELISA and Western blot. No case was detected to be HBsAg positive, whereas 16% had HBV seroconversion criteria, and more than 95% had anti-HBsAb in their sera. Also, 103 (40.1%) patients were HCV seropositive, 13 (5.1%) patients of which were co-infected with HCV/HTLV. Among the HTLV-infected patients, 44.8% were co-infected with HCV, whereas 39.5% of HTLV-seronegative individuals were HCV mono-infected (P > 0.05).


This study showed that transfusion-dependent thalassemic patients were in higher risk for transmission of different blood-borne pathogens such as HTLV. The screening of HTLV in Iranian blood donors is recommended.


HTLV; Iran; thalassemia

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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