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The prevalence and clinical associations of HTLV-1 infection in a remote Indigenous community

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The known The human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is endemic to central Australia according to hospital and laboratory data for Indigenous adults admitted to Alice Springs Hospital. However, the data may underestimate the overall community prevalence of HTLV-1 infection in remote communities. 

The new The prevalence of HTLV-1 infection in a remote Northern Territory community was high: 30 of 74 adults tested were HTLV-1-positive, and nine had clinical syndromes potentially attributable to HTLV-1 infection. 

The implications HTLV-1 infection may be more prevalent among Indigenous Australians and be associated with a greater burden of clinical disease than is currently appreciated. 

The human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is an oncogenic retrovirus that preferentially infects CD4+ T-cells.1 Worldwide, at least 5–10 million people are infected with HTLV-1, most dwelling in areas of high endemicity in southern Japan, the Caribbean basin, South America or intertropical Africa.2 Transmission typically follows exposure to infected lymphocytes in blood, or through breastfeeding or sexual intercourse. A minority of people infected…