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BMC Nephrol. 2017 Feb 15;18(1):64. doi: 10.1186/s12882-017-0484-y.

Prevalence and risk factors for Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 (HTLV-1) among maintenance hemodialysis patients.

Author information

Division of Nephrology, Hospital Geral Roberto Santos, Salvador, Brazil.
Postgraduate Program in Health Sciences, Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil.
Department of Biochemistry, APAE, Salvador, Brazil.
Unit of Clinical Epidemiology and Evidence Based Medicine of the Professor Edgard Santos University Hospital, Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil.
Diretoria Médica da Clínica Nephron-Itapuã, Salvador, Brazil.
Centro de Pesquisas Gonçalo Moniz (Fiocruz-Ba), Salvador, Brazil.
Department of Internal Medicine and Diagnostic Support, Medical School of Bahia, Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil.
Postgraduate Program in Health Sciences, Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil.



Infection with the human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1), although asymptomatic in most cases, can lead to potentially grave consequences, such as adult T-cell leukemia-lymphoma and HTLV-1-associated myelopathy / tropical spastic paraparesis. Its prevalence varies widely across different populations and geographic regions. A population-based study in the city of Salvador, located in the Northeast region of Brazil, showed an overall prevalence of HTLV-1 seropositivity of 1.7%. Blood borne virus infections are recognized as important hazards for patients and staff in maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) units but most studies focus on hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency viruses. There are scarce data about HTLV-1 infection in the MHD population. We aimed to determine the prevalence and risk factors for HTLV-1 infection among MHD patients in the city of Salvador-Bahia, Brazil.


We conducted a multi-center, cross-sectional study nested in a prospective cohort of MHD patients enrolled from four outpatient clinics. HTLV-1 screening was performed with ELISA and positive cases were confirmed by Western Blot. Factors associated with HTLV-1 seropositivity were identified by multivariable logistic regression.


605 patients were included in the study. The overall prevalence of HTLV-1 infection was 2.48% (15/605), which was similar to that of hepatitis B [1.98% (12/605)] and C [3.14% (19/605)] viruses in our sample. HTLV-1 seropositivity was positively associated with age [prevalence odds ratio (POR) 1.04; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01-1.08], unmarried status (POR 3.65; 95% CI 1.13-11.65), and history of blood transfusion (POR 3.35; 95% CI 1.01-11.13).


The overall prevalence of HTLV-1 infection in a sample of MHD patients was similar to that of other viral infections, such as hepatitis B and C. Our data revealed that MHD patients who are older, unmarried or who have received blood transfusions are at higher risk for HTLV-1 infection.


Blood Transfusion; Chronic Kidney 47 Disease; Hemodialysis; Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type 1

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