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HTLV-1, HTLV-2, and associated diseases 

HTLV-1, HTLV-2, and associated diseases
HTLV-1, HTLV-2, and associated diseases

Kristien Verdonck

, and Eduardo Gotuzzo

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date: 03 March 2021

Human T-cell leukaemia virus (HTLV)-1 and HTLV-2 belong to the genus Deltaretrovirus of the family Retroviridae. They only infect humans, produce a lifelong infection, and can be transmitted from mother to child, through sexual intercourse, and via cellular blood components and organ transplantation. Both viruses are present in all continents and have a heterogeneous distribution. HTLV-1-endemic foci (general population prevalence >1%) are found in Japan, the Caribbean, South America, Africa, and Australo-Melanesia. There are endemic foci of HTLV-2 among native Amerindians and Central African populations. HTLV-1 and 2 also occur among people who inject drugs. It is unclear why some infected people develop associated diseases while others remain asymptomatic.

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