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N Engl J Med. 1984 Feb 23;310(8):492-7.

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome in African patients.


Between May 1979 and April 1983, 18 previously healthy African patients were hospitalized in Belgium with opportunistic infections (cryptococcosis, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, central-nervous-system toxoplasmosis, progressive cutaneous herpes simplex virus infection, disseminated cytomegalovirus infection, candidiasis, or cryptosporidiosis) or Kaposi's sarcoma, or with both. Ten of them died. During the same period five other patients were hospitalized with an illness consistent with a prodrome of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (chronic lymphadenopathy, fever, weight loss, and diarrhea). All patients tested had a marked decrease in helper T cells; an inversion of the normal ratio of helper to suppressor T cells, and a decreased or absent blastogenic response of lymphocytes to mitogens. Twenty patients had anergy. There was no evidence of an underlying immunosuppressive disease and no history of blood-product transfusion, homosexuality, or intravenous-drug abuse. This syndrome in patients originating in Central Africa is similar to the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome reported in American patients.

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