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Transfusion medicine

Tranfusion-transmitted disease

HTLV and transfusion

Reviewer: Huy Phu Pham, M.D. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 5 October 2011, last major update October 2011
Copyright: (c) 2007-2011, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


● HTLV is transmitted by vertical transmission from mother to child, breast feeding, sexual relations, parenteral exposure
● HTLV1 infects mostly CD4+ lymphocytes while HTLV2 infects preferentially CD8+ lymphocytes
● HIV was originally called HTLV-III, but no longer; HTLV3 describes another virus
● In US, seroprevalence is 10-20 per 100,000 donors

Prevalence in donors:
● Brazil HIV clinic - 2% (Sex Transm Dis 2006;33:302)
● California (US) - 1 per 900K (Transfusion 2006;46:703)
● India - 0.2% (Indian J Pathol Microbiol 2006;49:532)
● Peruvian pregnant women - 2% (J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2006;42:604)
● Saudi Arabia - < 0.01% (Saudi Med J 2004;25:1419)
● Senegal - 0.2% (J Clin Microbiol 2006;44:1550)

● HTLV1 is associated with adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma; endemic in Caribbean and parts of Africa, Japan, South America
● Transfusion of RBCs, platelets and whole blood, but not FFP, have led to seroconversion of recipients
● In US, seroconversion rates are 14%-30% in recipients of seropositive cellular components
● Risk of transfusion transmission is 1 per 3 million products transfused
● Most positive donors are asymptomatic
● HTLVI is rare in US; HTLV2 is common in IV drug users in US
● Donors in US are tested for HTLV1 and 2
● Leukoreduction may be effective in removing HTLV (Transfusion 2004;44:42, but see Blood 2002;100:677)

End of Transfusion Medicine > Tranfusion-transmitted disease > HTLV and transfusion

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